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SCHWIND, The Dream of the Prisoner 
See page 109 for analysis 

A General Introduction 








Published, 1920, by 
BOKI & LrivEHioHT, INC. 

Firtt Edition Jung, 19tO 

Second Edition June, 19tO 

Third Edition August, 1910 

Fourth Edition September, 19SO 

Fifth Edition November, 19SO 

Sixth Edition January, 1911 

Seventh Edition Apnl, 1VS1 

Eighth Edition September, 1MI 

Ninth Edition November, 19S1 

Tenth Edition April, 19SS 

Eleventh Edition September, 19SS 

Twelfth Edition November, 192i 

Thirteenth Edition June, 1924 

Fourteenth Edition February, /9-5 

Printed in the United Statet of Amtrioa 





Few, especially in this country, realize that while Freudian 
themes have rarely found a place on the programs of the Ameri- 
can Psychological Association, they have attracted great and 
growing attention and found frequent elaboration by students 
of literature, history, biography, sociology, morals and aesthetics, 
anthropology, education, and religion. They have given the 
world a new conception of both infancy and adolescence, and 
shed much new light upon characterology ; given us a new and 
clearer view of sleep, dreams, reveries, and revealed hitherto 
unknown mental mechanisms common to normal and pathological 
states and processes, showing that the law of causation extends 
to the most incoherent acts and even verbigerations in insanity ; 
gone far to clear up the terra incognita of hysteria; taught us 
to recognize morbid symptoms, often neurotic and psychotic in 
their germ; revealed the operations of the primitive mind so 
overlaid and repressed that we had almost lost sight of them; 
fashioned and used the key of symbolism to unlock many mysti- 
cisms of the past ; and in addition to all this, affected thousands 
of cures, established a new prophylaxis, and suggested new tests 
for character, disposition, and ability, in all combining the 
practical and theoretic to a degree salutary as it is rare. 

These twenty-eight lectures to laymen are elementary and 
almost conversational. Freud sets forth with a frankness 
almost startling the difficulties and limitations of psychoanalysis, 
and also describes its main methods and results as only a master 
and originator of a new school of thought can do. These dis- 
courses are at the same time simple and almost confidential, and 
they trace and sum up the results of thirty years of devoted and 
painstaking research. While they are not at all controversial, 
we incidentally see in a clearer light the distinctions between the 
master and some of his distinguished pupils. A text like this is 
*he most opportune and will naturally more or less supersede all 
other introductions to the general subject of psychoanalysis. It 
presents the author in a new light, as an effective and successful 



vi Preface 

popularizer, and is certain to be welcomed not only by the large 
and growing number of students of psychoanalysis in this country 
but by the yet larger number of those who wish to begin its study 
here and elsewhere. 

The impartial student of Sigmund Freud need not agree with 
all his conclusions, and indeed, like the present writer, may be 
unable to make sex so all-dominating a factor in the psychic life 
of the past and present as Freud deems it to be, to recognize the 
fact that he is the most original and creative mind in psychology 
of our generation. Despite the frightful handicap of the odium 
sexicum, far more formidable today than the odium theologicum, 
involving as it has done for him lack of academic recognition and 
even more or less social ostracism, his views have attracted and 
inspired a brilliant group of minds not only in psychiatry but 
in many other fields, who have altogether given the world of 
culture more new and pregnant appercus than those which have 
come from any other source within the wide domain of humanism. 

A former student and disciple of Wundt, who recognizes to 
the full his inestimable services to our science, cannot avoid 
making certain comparisons. Wundt has had for decades the 
prestige of a most advantageous academic chair. He founded 
the first laboratory for experimental psychology, which attracted 
many of the most gifted and mature students from all lands. 
By his development of the doctrine of apperception he took 
psychology forever beyond the old associationism which had 
ceased to be fruitful. He also established the independence of 
psychology from physiology, and by his encyclopedic and always 
thronged lectures, to say nothing of his more or less esoteric 
seminary, he materially advanced every branch of mental science 
and extended its influence over the whole wide domain of folklore, 
mores, language, and primitive religion. His best texts will long 
constitute a thesaurus which every psychologist must know. 

Again, like Freud, he inspired students who went beyond him 
(the Wurzburgera and introspectionists) whose method and 
results he could not follow. His limitations have grown more 
and more manifest. He has little use for the unconscious or the 
abnormal, and for the most part he has lived and wrought in a 
preevolutionary age and always and everywhere underestimated 
the genetic standpoint. He never transcends the conventional 
limits in dealing, as he so rarely does, with sex. Nor does he 

Preface vii 

contribute much likely to be of permanent value in any part of 
the wide domain of affectivity. We cannot forbear to express 
the hope that Freud will not repeat Wundt's error in making 
too abrupt a break with his more advanced pupils like Adler or 
the Zurich group. It is rather precisely just the topics that 
Wundt neglects that Freud makes his chief corner-stones, viz., 
the unconscious, the abnormal, sex, and affectivity generally, with 
many genetic, especially ontogenetic, but also phylogenetic 
factors. The Wundtian influence has been great in the past, 
while Freud has a great present and a yet greater future. 

In one thing Freud agrees with the introspectionists, viz., in 
deliberately neglecting the "physiological factor" and building 
on purely psychological foundations, although for Freud psy- 
chology is mainly unconscious, while for the introspectionists it 
is pure consciousness. Neither he nor his disciples have yet 
recognized the aid proffered them by students of the autonomic 
system or by the distinctions between the epicritic and proto- 
pathic functions and organs of the cerebrum, although these will 
doubtless come to have their due place as we know more of the 
nature and processes of the unconscious mind. 

If psychologists of the normal have hitherto been too little 
disposed to recognize the precious contributions to psychology 
made by the cruel experiments of Nature in mental diseases, we 
think that the psychoanalysts, who work predominantly in this 
field, have been somewhat too ready to apply their findings to the 
operations of the normal mind ; but we are optomistic enough to 
believe that in the end both these errors will vanish and that in 
the great synthesis of the future that now seems to impend our 
science will be made vastly richer and deeper on the theoretical 
side and also far more practical than it has ever been before. 


Clark University, 
April, 1920. 



The Psychology of Errors 


PREFACE G. Stanley Hall v 






The Dream 













General Theory of the Neuroses 
























1DO not know how familiar some of you may be, either from 
your reading or from hearsay, with psychoanalysis. But, 
in keeping with the title of these lectures A General 
Introduction to Psychoanalysis I am obliged to pro- 
ceed as though you knew nothing about this subject, and stood 
in need of preliminary instruction. 

To be sure, this much I may presume that you do know, 
namely, that psychoanalysis is a method of treating nervous 
patients medically. And just at this point I can give you an 
example to illustrate how the procedure in this field is precisely 
the reverse of that which is the rule in medicine. Usually when 
we introduce a patient to a medical technique which is strange 
to him, we minimize its difficulties and give him confident 
promises concerning the result of the treatment. When, how- 
ever, we undertake psychoanalytic treatment with a neurotic 
patient we proceed differently. "We hold before him the diffi- 
culties of the method, its length, the exertions and the sacrifices 
which it will cost him ; and, as to the result, we tell him that we 
make no definite promises, that the result depends on his conduct, 
on his understanding, on his adaptability, on his perseverance. 
We have, of course, excellent motives for conduct which seems 
so perverse, and into which you will perhaps gain insight at a 
later point in these lectures. 

Do not be offended, therefore, if, for the present, I treat you 
as I treat these neurotic patients. Frankly, I shall dissuade 
you from coming to hear me a second time. With this intention 
I shall show what imperfections are necessarily involved in 
the teaching of psychoanalysis and what difficulties stand in 
the way of gaining a personal judgment. I shall show you how 
the whole trend of your previous training and all your accus- 
tomed mental habits must unavoidably have made you opponent* 
of psychoanalysis, and how much you must overcome in your. 


2 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

selves in order to master this instinctive opposition. Of course 
I cannot predict how much psychoanalytic understanding you 
will gain from my lectures, but I can promise this, that by listen- 
ing to them you will not learn how to undertake a psychoanalytic 
treatment or how to carry one to completion. Furthermore, 
should I find anyone among you who does not feel satisfied with 
a cursory acquaintance with psychoanalysis, but who would 
like to enter into a more enduring relationship with it, I shall 
not only dissuade him, but I shall actually warn him against 
it. As things now stand, a person would, by such a choice of 
profession, ruin his every chance of success at a university, and 
if he goes out into the world as a practicing physician, he will 
find himself in a society which does not understand his aims, 
which regards him with suspicion and hostility, and which turns 
loose upon him all the malicious spirits which lurk within it. 

However, there are always enough individuals who are inter- 
ested in anything which may be added to the sum total of 
knowledge, despite such inconveniences. Should there be any 
of this type among you, and should they ignore my dissuasion 
and return to the next of these lectures, they will be welcome. 
But all of you have the right to know what these difficulties of 
psychoanalysis are to which I have alluded. 

First of all, we encounter the difficulties inherent in the 
teaching and exposition of psychoanalysis. In your medical 
instruction you have been accustomed to visual demonstration. 
You see the anatomical specimen, the precipitate in the chemical 
reaction, the contraction of the muscle as the result of the 
stimulation of its nerves. Later the patient is presented to your 
senses ; the symptoms of his malady, the products of the patho- 
logical processes, in many cases even the cause of the disease is 
shown in isolated state. In the surgical department you are 
made to witness the steps by which one brings relief to the 
patient, and are permitted to attempt to practice them. Even 
in psychiatry, the demonstration affords you, by the patient's 
changed facial play, his manner of speech and his behavior, a 
wealth of observations which leave far-reaching impressions. 
Thus the medical teacher preponderantly plays the role of a 
guide and instructor who accompanies you through a museum 
in which you contract an immediate relationship to the exhibits, 
and in which you believe yourself to have been convinced through 

Introduction 3 

your own observation of the existence of the new things you see. 

Unfortunately, everything is different in psychoanalysis. In 
psychoanalysis nothing occurs but the interchange of words be- 
tween the patient and the physician. The patient talks, tells 
of his past experiences and present impressions, complains, con- 
fesses his wishes and emotions. The physician listens, tries to 
direct the thought processes of the patient, reminds him of things, 
forces his attention into certain channels, gives him explanations 
and observes the reactions of understanding or denial which he 
calls forth in the patient. The uneducated relatives of our 
patients persons who are impressed only by the visible and 
tangible, preferably by such procedure as one sees in the moving 
picture theatres never miss an opportunity of voicing their 
scepticism as to how one can "do anything for the malady 
through mere talk." Such thinking, of course, is as short- 
sighted as it is inconsistent. For these are the very persons who 
know with such certainty that the patients "merely imagine" 
their symptoms. Words were originally magic, and the word 
retains much of its old magical power even to-day. With words 
one man can make another blessed, or drive him to despair ; by 
words the teacher transfers his knowledge to the pupil ; by words 
the speaker sweeps his audience with him and determines its 
judgments and decisions. Words call forth effects and are the 
universal means of influencing human beings. Therefore let 
us not underestimate the use of words in psychotherapy, and 
let us be satisfied if we may be auditors of the words which are 
exchanged between the analyst and his patient. 

But even that is impossible. The conversation of which the 
psychoanalytic treatment consists brooks no auditor, it cannot 
be demonstrated. One can, of course, present a neurasthenic 
or hysteric to the students in a psychiatric lecture. He tells of 
his complaints and symptoms, but of nothing else. The com- 
munications which are necessary for the analysis are made only 
under the conditions of a special affective relationship to the 
physician ; the patient would become dumb as soon as he became 
aware of a single impartial witness. For these communications 
concern the most intimate part of his psychic life, everything 
which as a socially independent person he must conceal from 
others; these communications deal with everything which, as a 
harmonious personality, he will not admit even to himself. 

* Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

You cannot, therefore, "listen in" on a psychoanalytic treat- 
ment. You can only hear of it. You will get to know psycho- 
analysis, in the strictest sense of the word, only by hearsay. 
Such instruction even at second hand, will place you in quite 
an unusual position for forming a judgment. For it is obvious 
that everything depends on the faith you are able to put in the 

Imagine that you are not attending a psychiatric, but an 
historical lecture, and that the lecturer is telling you about the 
life and martial deeds of Alexander the Great. What would 
be your reasons for believing in the authenticity of his state- 
ments? At first sight, the condition of affairs seems even more 
unfavorable than in the case of psychoanalysis, for the history 
professor was as little a participant in Alexander's campaigns 
as you were; the psychoanalyst at least tells you of things in 
connection with which he himself has played some role. But 
then the question turns on this what set of facts can the his- 
torian marshal in support of his position? He can refer you 
to the accounts of ancient authors, who were either contempo- 
raries themselves, or who were at least closer to the events in 
question; that is, he will refer you to the books of Diodor, 
Plutarch, Arrian, etc. He can place before you pictures of the 
preserved coins and statues of the king and can pass down your 
rows a photograph of the Pompeiian mosaics of the battle of 
Issos. Yet, strictly speaking, all these documents prove only 
that previous generations already believed in Alexander's exis- 
tence and in the reality of his deeds, and your criticism might 
begin anew at this point. You will then find that not everything 
recounted of Alexander is credible, or capable of proof in 
detail; yet even then I cannot believe that you will leave the 
lecture hall a disbeliever in the reality of Alexander the Great. 
Your decision will be determined chiefly by two considerations ; 
firstly, that the lecturer has no conceivable motive for present- 
ing as truth something which he does not himself believe to be 
true, and secondly, that all available histories present the events 
in approximately the same manner. If you then proceed to the 
verification of the older sources, you will consider the same data, 
the possible motives of the writers and the consistency of the 
various parts of the evidence. The result of the examination 
will surely be convincing in the case of Alexander. It will 

Introduction 5 

probably turn out differently when applied to individuals like 
Moses and Nimrod. But what doubts you might raise against 
the credibility of the psychoanalytic reporter you will see 
plainly enough upon a later occasion. 

At this point you have a right to raise the question, "If there 
is no such thing as objective verification of psychoanalysis, and 
no possibility of demonstrating it, how can one possibly learn 
psychoanalysis and convince himself of the truth of its claims ? ' ' 
The fact is, the study is not easy and there are not many per- 
sons who have learned psychoanalysis thoroughly; but never- 
theless, there is a feasible way. Psychoanalysis is learned, first 
of all, from a study of one's self, through the study of one's own 
personality. This is not quite what is ordinarily called self- 
observation, but, at a pinch, one can sum it up thus. There is a 
whole series of very common and universally known psychic 
phenomena, which, after some instruction in the technique of 
psychoanalysis, one can make the subject matter of analysis in 
one's self. By so doing one obtains the desired conviction of the 
reality of the occurrences which psychoanalysis describes and 
of the correctness of its fundamental conception. To be sure, 
there are definite limits imposed on progress by this method. 
One gets much further if one allows himself to be analyzed by a 
competent analyst, observes the effect of the analysis on his own 
ego, and at the same time makes use of the opportunity to 
become familiar with the finer details of the technique of pro- 
cedure. This excellent method is, of course, only practicable 
for one person, never for an entire class. 

There is a second difficulty in your relation to psychoanalysis 
for which I cannot hold the science itself responsible, but for 
which I must ask you to take the responsibility upon yourselves, 
ladies and gentlemen, at least in so far as you have hitherto pur- 
sued medical studies. Your previous training has given your 
mental activity a definite bent which leads you far away from 
psychoanalysis. You have been trained to reduce the functions 
of an organism and its disorders anatomically, to explain them 
in terms of chemistry and physics and to conceive them biol- 
ogically, but no portion of your interest has been directed to 
the psychic life, in which, after all, the activity of this wonder- 
fully complex organism culminates. For this reason psycho- 
logical thinking has remained strange to you and you have 

6 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

accustomed yourselves to regard it with suspicion, to deny it the 
character of the scientific, to leave it to the laymen, poets, natu- 
ral philosophers and mystics. Such a delimitation is surely 
harmful to your medical activity, for the patient will, as is usual 
in all human relationships, confront you first of all with his 
psychic facade ; and I am afraid your penalty will be this, that 
you will be forced to relinquish a portion of the therapeutic 
influence to which you aspire, to those lay physicians, nature- 
cure fakers and mystics whom you despise. 

I am not overlooking the excuse, whose existence one must 
admit, for this deficiency in your previous training. There is 
no philosophical science of therapy which could be made prac- 
ticable for your medical purpose. Neither speculative philoso- 
phy nor descriptive psychology nor that so-called experimental 
psychology which allies itself with the physiology of the sense 
organs as it is taught in the schools, is in a position to teach 
you anything useful concerning the relation between the physical 
and the psychical or to put into your hand the key to the under- 
standing of a possible disorder of the psychic functions. Within 
the field of medicine, psychiatry does, it is true, occupy itself 
with the description of the observed psychic disorders and with 
their grouping into clinical symptom-pictures; but in their 
better hours the psychiatrists themselves doubt whether their 
purely descriptive account deserves the name of a science. The 
symptoms which constitute these clinical pictures are known 
neither in their origin, in their mechanism, nor in their mutual 
relationship. There are either no discoverable corresponding 
changes of the anatomical organ of the soul, or else the changes 
are of such a nature as to yield no enlightenment. Such psychic 
disturbances are open to therapeutic influence only when they 
can be identified as secondary phenomena of an otherwise organic 

Here is the gap which psychoanalysis aims to fill. It prepares 
to give psychiatry the omitted psychological foundation, it hopes 
to reveal the common basis from which, as a starting point, con- 
stant correlation of bodily and psychic disturbances becomes 
comprehensible. To this end, it must divorce itself from every 
anatomical, chemical or physiological supposition which is alien 
to it. It must work throughout with purely psychological 

Introduction 7 

therapeutic concepts, and just for that reason I fear that it will 
at first seem strange to you. 

I will not make you, your previous training, or your mental 
bias share the guilt of the next difficulty. With two of its 
assertions, psychoanalysis offends the whole world and draws 
aversion upon itself. One of these assertions offends an intellec- 
tual prejudice, the other an aesthetic-moral one. Let us not 
think too lightly of these prejudices; they are powerful things, 
remnants of useful, even necessary, developments of mankind. 
They are retained through powerful affects, and the battle 
against them is a hard one. 

The first of these displeasing assertions of psychoanalysis 
is this, that the psychic processes are in themselves unconscious, 
and that those which are conscious are merely isolated acts and 
parts of the total psychic life. Recollect that we are, on the 
contrary, accustomed to identify the psychic with the conscious. 
Consciousness actually means for us the distinguishing charac- 
teristic of the psychic life, and psychology is the science of the 
content of consciousness. Indeed, so obvious does this identifica- 
tion seem to us that we consider its slightest contradiction ob- 
vious nonsense, and yet psychoanalysis cannot avoid raising this 
contradiction ; it cannot accept the identity of the conscious with 
the psychic. Its definition of the psychic affirms that they are 
processes of the nature of feeling, thinking, willing ; and it must 
assert that there is such a thing as unconscious thinking and un- 
conscious willing. But with this assertion psychoanalysis has 
alienated, to start with, the sympathy of all friends of sober sci- 
ence, and has laid itself open to the suspicion of being a fantastic 
mystery study which would build in darkness and fish in murky 
waters. You, however, ladies and gentlemen, naturally cannot as 
yet understand what justification I have for stigmatizing as a 
prejudice so abstract a phrase as this one, that "the psychic is 
consciousness." You cannot know what evaluation can have led 
to the denial of the unconscious, if such a thing really exists, 
and what advantage may have resulted from this denial. It 
sounds like a mere argument over words whether one shall say 
that the psychic coincides with the conscious or whether one 
shall extend it beyond that, and yet I can assure you that by 
the acceptance of unconscious processes you have paved the 
Way for a decisively new orientation in the world and in science. 

8 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

Just as little can you guess how intimate a connection this 
initial boldness of psychoanalysis has with the one which fol- 
lows. The next assertion which psychoanalysis proclaims as 
one of its discoveries, affirms that those instinctive impulses 
which one can only call sexual in the narrower as well as in the 
wider sense, play an uncommonly large role in the causation of 
nervous and mental diseases, and that those impulses are a 
causation which has never been adequately appreciated. Nay, 
indeed, psychoanalysis claims that these same sexual impulses 
have made contributions whose value cannot be overestimated 
to the highest cultural, artistic and social achievements of the 
human mind. 

According to my experience, the aversion to this conclusion 
of psychoanalysis is the most significant source of the opposition 
which it encounters. Would you like to know how we explain 
this fact ? We believe that civilization was forged by the driving 
force of vital necessity, at the cost of instinct-satisfaction, 
and that the process is to a large extent constantly repeated 
anew, since each individual who newly enters the human com- 
munity repeats the sacrifices of his instinct-satisfaction for the 
sake of the common good. Among the instinctive forces thus 
utilized, the sexual impulses play a significant role. They are 
thereby sublimated, i.e., they are diverted from their sexual goals 
and directed to ends socially higher and no longer sexual. But 
this result is unstable. The sexual instincts are poorly tamed. 
Each individual who wishes to ally himself with the achieve- 
ments of civilization is exposed to the danger of having his 
sexual instincts rebel against this sublimation. Society can 
conceive of no more serious menace to its civilization than would 
arise through the satisfying of the sexual instincts by their 
redirection toward their original goals. Society, therefore, does 
not relish being reminded of this ticklish spot in its origin; it 
has no interest in having the strength of the sexual instincts 
recognized and the meaning of the sexual life to the individual 
clearly delineated. On the contrary, society has taken the course 
of diverting attention from this whole field. This is the reason 
why society will not tolerate the above-mentioned results of 
psychoanalytic research, and would prefer to brand it as 
aesthetically offensive and morally objectionable or dangerous. 
Since, however, one cannot attack an ostensibly objective result 

Introduction 9 

of scientific inquiry with such objections, the criticism must be 
translated to an intellectual level if it is to be voiced. But it is 
a predisposition of human nature to consider an unpleasant idea 
untrue, and then it is easy to find arguments against it. Society 
thus brands what is unpleasant as untrue, denying the conclu- 
sions of psychoanalysis with logical and pertinent arguments. 
These arguments originate from affective sources, however, and 
society holds to these prejudices against all attempts at refuta- 

However, we may claim, ladies and gentlemen, that we have 
followed no bias of any sort in making any of these contested 
statements. We merely wished to state facts which we believe 
to have been discovered by toilsome labor. And we now claim 
the right unconditionally to reject the interference in scientific 
research of any such practical considerations, even before we 
have investigated whether the apprehension which these con- 
siderations are meant to instil are justified or not. 

These, therefore, are but a few of the difficulties which stand 
in the way of your occupation with psychoanalysis. They are 
perhaps more than enough for a beginning. If you can over- 
come their deterrent impression, we shall continue. 



WE begin with an investigation, not with hypotheses. 
To this end we choose certain phenomena which 
are very frequent, very familiar and very little 
heeded, and which have nothing to do with the 
pathological, inasmuch as they can be observed in every normal 
person. I refer to the errors which an individual commits 
as for example, errors of speech in which he wishes to say some- 
thing and uses the wrong word ; or those which happen to him in 
writing, and which he may or may not notice; or the case of 
misreading, in which one reads in the print or writing something 
different from what is actually there. A similar phenomenon 
occurs in those cases of mishearing what is said to one, where 
there is no question of an organic disturbance of the auditory 
function. Another series of such occurrences is based on for- 
getfulness but on a forgetfulness which is not permanent, but 
temporary, as for instance when one cannot think of a name 
which one knows and always recognizes; or when one forgets 
to carry out a project at the proper time but which one re- 
members again later, and therefore has only forgotten for a 
certain interval. In a third class this characteristic of transience 
is lacking, as for example in mislaying things so that they cannot 
be found again, or in the analogous case of losing things. Here 
we are dealing with a kind of forgetfulness to which one reacts 
differently from the other cases, a forgetfulness at which one is 
surprised and annoyed, instead of considering it comprehensible. 
Allied with these phenomena is that of erroneous ideas in 
which the element of transience is again prominent, inasmuch 
as for a while one believes something which, before and after 
that time, one knows to be untrue and a number of similar 
phenomena of different designations. 

These are all occurrences whose inner connection is expressed 


The Psychology of Errors 11 

in the use of the same prefix of designation. 1 They are almost 
all unimportant, generally temporary and without much signifi- 
cance in the life of the individual. It is only rarely that one of 
them, such as the phenomenon of losing things, attains to a cer- 
tain practical importance. For that reason also they do not 
attract much attention, they arouse only weak affects. 

It is, therefore, to these phenomena that I would now direct 
your attention. But you will object, with annoyance: "There 
are so many sublime riddles in the external world, just as there 
are in the narrower world of the psychic life, and so many 
wonders in the field of psychic disturbances which demand and 
deserve elucidation, that it really seems frivolous to waste labor 
and interest on such trifles. If you can explain to us how an 
individual with sound eyes and ears can, in broad daylight, see 
and hear things that do not exist, or why another individual 
suddenly believes himself persecuted by those whom up to that 
time he loved best, or defend, with the most ingenious arguments, 
delusions which must seem nonsense to any child, then we will 
be willing to consider psychoanalysis seriously. But if psycho- 
analysis can do nothing better than to occupy us with the ques- 
tion of why a speaker used the wrong word, or why a housekeeper 
mislaid her keys, or such trifles, then we know something better 
to do with our time and interest." 

My reply is : ' ' Patience, ladies and gentlemen. I think your 
criticism is not on the right track. It is true that psychoanalysis 
cannot boast that it has never occupied itself with trifles. On 
the contrary, the objects of its observations are generally those 
simple occurrences which the other sciences have thrown aside 
as much too insignificant, the waste products of the phenomenal 
world. But are you not confounding, in your criticism, the 
sublimity of the problems with the conspicuousness of their 
manifestations? Are there not very important things which 
under certain circumstances, and at certain times, can betray 
themselves only by very faint signs ? I could easily cite a great 
many instances of this kind. From what vague signs, for in- 
stance, do the young gentlemen of this audience conclude that 
they have won the favor of a lady? Do you await an explicit 
declaration, an ardent embrace, or does not a glance, scarcely 
perceptible to others, a fleeting gesture, the prolonging of a 

1 ' ' Fehl-leistungen. ' ' 

12 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

hand-shake by one second, suffice? And if you are a criminal 
lawyer, and engaged in the investigation of a murder, do you 
actually expect the murderer to leave his photograph and address 
on the scene of the crime, or would you, of necessity, content 
yourself with fainter and less certain traces of that individual ? 
Therefore, let us not undervalue small signs ; perhaps by means 
of them we will succeed in getting on the track of greater things. 
I agree with you that the larger problems of the world and of 
science have the first claim on our interest. But it is generally 
of little avail to form the definite resolution to devote oneself to 
the investigation of this or that problem. Often one does not 
know in which direction to take the next step. In scientific 
research it is more fruitful to attempt what happens to be before 
one at the moment and for whose investigation there is a dis- 
coverable method. If one does that thoroughly without prejudice 
or predisposition, one may, with good fortune, and by virtue 
of the connection which links each thing to every other (hence 
also the small to the great) discover even from such modest 
research a point of approach to the study of the big problems." 

Thus would I answer, in order to secure your attention for 
the consideration of these apparently insignificant errors made 
by normal people. At this point, we will question a stranger to 
psychoanalysis and ask him how he explains these occurrences. 

His first answer is sure to be, "Oh, they are not worth an 
explanation; they are merely slight accidents." What does he 
mean by this? Does he mean to assert that there are any 
occurrences so insignificant that they fall out of the causal 
sequence of things, or that they might just as well be something 
different from what they are ? If anv one thus denies the deter- 
mination of natural phenomena at one bach point, he has vitiated 
the entire scientific viewpoint. One can then point out to him 
how much more consistent is the religious point of view, when 
it explicitly asserts that "No sparrow falls from the roof 
without God's special wish." I imagine our friend will not be 
willing to follow his first answer to its logical conclusion; he 
will interrupt and say that if he were to study these things 
he would probably find an explanation for them. He will say 
that this is a case of slight functional disturbance, of an in- 
accurate psychic act whose causal factors can be outlined. A man 
who otherwise speaks correctly may make a slip of the tongue 

The Psychology of Errors 13 

when he is slightly ill or fatigued; when he is excited; 
when his attention is concentrated on something else. It is 
easy to prove these statements. Slips of the tongue do really 
occur with special frequency when one is tired, when one has 
a headache or when one is indisposed. Forgetting proper names 
is a very frequent occurrence under these circumstances. Many 
persons even recognize the imminence of an indisposition by the 
inability to recall proper names. Often also one mixes up words 
or objects during excitement, one picks up the wrong things; 
and the forgetting of projects, as well as the doing of any num- 
ber of other unintentional acts, becomes conspicuous when one 
is distracted; in other words, when one's attention is concen- 
trated on other things. A familiar instance of such distraction 
is the professor in Fliegende Blatter, who takes the wrong hat 
because he is thinking of the problems which he wishes to treat 
in his next book. Each of us knows from experience some ex- 
amples of how one can forget projects which one has planned 
and promises which one has made, because an experience has 
intervened which has preoccupied one deeply. 

This seems both comprehensible and irrefutable. It is perhaps 
not very interesting, not as we expected it to be. But let us 
consider this explanation of errors. The conditions which have 
been cited as necessary for the occurrence of these phenomena 
are not all identical. Illness and disorders of circulation afford 
a physiological basis. Excitement, fatigue and distraction are 
conditions of a different sort, which one could designate as 
psycho-physiological. About these latter it is easy to theorize. 
Fatigue, as well as distraction, and perhaps also general excite- 
ment, cause a scattering of the attention which can result in the 
act in progress not receiving sufficient attention. This act can 
then be more easily interrupted than usual, and may be in- 
exactly carried out. A slight illness, or a change in the distribu- 
tion of blood in the central organ of the nervous system, can have 
the same effect, inasmuch as it influences the determining factor, 
the distribution of attention, in a similar way. In all cases, 
therefore, it is a question of the effects of a distraction of the 
attention, caused either by organic or psychic factors. 

But this does not seem to yield much of interest for our 
psychoanalytic investigation. "We might even feel tempted to 
give up the subject. To be sure, when we look more closely we 

14 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

find that not everything squares with this attention theory of 
psychological errors, or that at any rate not everything can be 
directly deduced from it. We find that such errors and such 
forgetting occur even when people are not fatigued, distracted 
or excited, but are in every way in their normal state; unless, 
in consequence of these errors, one were to attribute to them 
an excitement which they themselves do not acknowledge. Nor 
is the mechanism so simple that the success of an act is assured 
by an intensification of the attention bestowed upon it, and 
endangered by its diminution. There are many acts which one 
performs in a purely automatic way and with very little atten- 
tion, but which are yet carried out quite successfully. The 
pedestrian who scarcely knows where he is going, nevertheless 
keeps to the right road and stops at his destination without hav- 
ing gone astray. At least, this is the rule. The practiced 
pianist touches the right keys without thinking of them. He 
may, of course, also make an occasional mistake, but if auto- 
matic playing increased the likelihood of errors, it would be 
just the virtuoso whose playing has, through practice, become 
most automatic, who would be the most exposed to this danger. 
Yet we see, on the contrary, that many acts are most successfully 
carried out when they are not the objects of particularly con- 
centrated attention, and that the mistakes occur just at the 
point where one is most anxious to be accurate where a dis- 
traction of the necessary attention is therefore surely least 
permissible. One could then say that this is the effect of the 
"excitement," but we do not understand why the excitement 
does not intensify the concentration of attention on the goal 
that is so much desired. If in an important speech or discus- 
sion anyone says the opposite of what he means, then that can 
hardly be explained according to the psycho-physiological or the 
attention theories. 

There are also many other small phenomena accompanying 
these errors, which are not understood and which have not been 
rendered comprehensible to us by these explanations. For in- 
stance, when one has temporarily forgotten a name, one is 
annoyed, one is determined to recall it and is unable to give up 
the attempt. Why is it that despite his annoyance the indi- 
vidual cannot succeed, as he wishes, in directing his attention 
to the word which is "on the tip of his tongue," and which he 

The Psychology of Errors 15 

instantly recognizes when it is pronounced to him? Or, to 
take another example, there are cases in which the errors mul- 
tiply, link themselves together, substitute for each other. The 
first time one forgets an appointment ; the next time, after having 
made a special resolution not to forget it, one discovers that one 
has made a mistake in the day or hour. Or one tries by devious 
means to remember a forgotten word, and in the course of so 
doing loses track of a second name which would have been of 
use in finding the first. If one then pursues this second name, 
a third gets lost, and so on. It is notorious that the same thing 
can happen in the case of misprints, which are of ocurse to be 
considered as errors of the typesetter. A stubborn error of this 
sort is said to have crept into a Social-Democratic paper, where, 
in the account of a certain festivity was printed, ' ' Among those 
present was His Highness, the Clown Prince." The next day 
a correction was attempted. The paper apologized and said, 
' ' The sentence should, of course, have read ' The Clown Prince. ' ' ' 
One likes to attribute these occurrences to the printer's devil, 
to the goblin of the typesetting machine, and the like figura- 
tive expressions which at least go beyond a psycho-physiological 
theory of the misprint. 

I do not know if you are acquainted with the fact that one 
can provoke slips of the tongue, can call them forth by sugges- 
tion, as it were. An anecdote will serve to illustrate this. Once 
when a novice on the stage was entrusted with the important 
role in The Maid of Orleans of announcing to the King, ' ' Conne- 
table sheathes his sword," the star played the joke of repeating 
to the frightened beginner during the rehearsal, instead of the 
text, the following, "Comfortable sends back his steed," 2 and 
he attained his end. In the performance the unfortunate actor 
actually made his debut with this distorted announcement ; even 
after he had been amply warned against so doing, or perhaps 
just for that reason. 

These little characteristics of errors are not exactly illuminated 
by the theory of diverted attention. But that does not neces- 
sarily prove the whole theory wrong. There is perhaps some- 
thing missing, a complement by the addition of which the theory 

*In the German, the correct announcement is, " Connetable schickt sein 
Bchwert zuriick. " The novice, as a result of the suggestion, announced 
instead that " Komfortabel schickt sein Pferd zuriick." 

16 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

would be made completely satisfactory. But many of the errors 
themselves can be regarded from another aspect. 

Let us select slips of the tongue, as best suited to our purposes. 
We might equally well choose slips of the pen or of reading. 
But at this point, we must make clear to ourselves the fact that 
so far we have inquired only as to when and under what con- 
ditions one's tongue slips, and have received an answer on this 
point only. One can, however, direct one's interest elsewhere 
and ask why one makes just this particular slip and no other; 
one can consider what the slip results in. You must realize that 
as long as one does not answer this question does not explain 
the effect produced by the slip the phenomenon in its psycho- 
logical aspect remains an accident, even if its physiological ex- 
planation has been found. When it happens that I commit a 
slip of the tongue, I could obviously make any one of an in- 
finite number of slips, and in place of the one right word say 
any one of a thousand others, make innumerable distortions of 
the right word. Now, is there anything which forces upon me in 
a specific instance just this one special slip out of all those 
which are possible, or does that remain accidental and arbitrary, 
and can nothing rational be found in answer to this question ? 

Two authors, Meringer and Mayer (a philologist and a psychi- 
atrist) did indeed in 1895 make the attempt to approach the 
problem of slips of the tongue from this side. They collected 
examples and first treated them from a purely descriptive stand- 
point. That, of course, does not yet furnish any explanation, but 
may open the way to one. They differentiated the distortions 
which the intended phrase suffered through the slip, into : inter- 
changes of positions of words, interchanges of parts of words, 
perseverations, compoundings and substitutions. I will give 
you examples of these authors' main categories. It is a case of 
interchange of the first sort if someone says "the Milo of Venus" 
instead of "the Venus of Milo." An example of the second 
type of interchange, "I had a blush of rood to the head" instead 
of * ' rush of blood " ; a perseveration would be the familiar mis- 
placed toast, "I ask you to join me in hiccoughing the health 
of our chief." 8 These three forms of slips are not very frequent. 
You will find those cases much more frequent in which the slip 
results from a drawing together or compounding of syllables; 
*" Auf stossen " instead of ' ' anstossen. " 

The Psychology of Errors 17 

for example, a gentleman on the street addresses a lady with 
the words, "If you will allow me, madame, I should be very 
glad to inscort you." 4 In the compounded word there is ob- 
viously besides the word "escort," also the word "insult" (and 
parenthetically we may remark that the young man will not find 
much favor with the lady). As an example of the substitution, 
Meringer and Mayer cite the following: "A man says, 'I put 
the specimens in the letterbox,' instead of 'in the hot-bed,' and 
the like." 5 

The explanation which the two authors attempt to formulate 
on the basis of this collection of examples is peculiarly inade- 
quate. They hold that the sounds and syllables of words have 
different values, and that the production and perception of 
more highly valued syllables can interfere with those of lower 
values. They obviously base this conclusion on the cases of fore- 
sounding and perseveration which are not at all frequent; in 
other cases of slips of the tongue the question of such sound 
priorities, if any exist, does not enter at all. The most frequent 
cases of slips of the tongue are those in which instead of a cer- 
tain word one says another which resembles it; and one may 
consider this resemblance sufficient explanation. For example, 
a professor says in his initial lecture, "I am not inclined to 
evaluate the merits of my predecessor. ' ' 6 Or another professor 
says, "In the case of the female genital, despite many tempta- 
tions . . . I mean many attempts . . . etc." 7 

The most common, and also the most conspicuous form of 
Blips of the tongue, however, is that of saying the exact opposite 
of what one meant to say. In such cases, one goes far afield 
from the problem of sound relations and resemblance effects, 
and can cite, instead of these, the fact that opposites have an 
obviously close relationship to each other, and have particularly 
close relations in the psychology of association. There are his- 
torical examples of this sort. A president of our House of Rep- 
resentatives once opened the assembly with the words, "Gentle- 
men, I declare a quorum present, and herewith declare the 
assembly closed." 

** ' Begleit-digen " compounded of "begleiten" and ' ' beleidigen. " 

"Briefkasten" instead of ' ' Briitkasten. ' ' 

" Geneigt " instead of " geeignet." 

f ' ' Versuchungen ' ' instead of ' ' Versuche. ' ' 

28 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

Similar, in its trickiness, to the relation of opposates is the 
effect of any other facile association which may under certain 
circumstances arise most inopportunely. Thus, for instance, 
there is the story which relates that on the occasion of a festivity 
in honor of the marriage of a child of H. Helmholtz with a 
child of the well-known discoverer and captain of industry, 
W. Siemon, the famous physiologist Dubois-Reymond was asked 
to speak. He concluded his undoubtedly sparkling toast with 
the words, "Success to the new firm Siemens and Halski!" 
That, of course, was the name of the well-known old firm. The 
association of the two names must have been about as easy for 
a native of Berlin as "Weber and Fields" to an American. 

Thus we must add to the sound relations and word resem- 
blances the influence of word associations. But that is not all. 
In a series of cases, an explanation of the observed slip is un- 
successful unless we take into account what phrase had been 
said or even thought previously. This again makes it a case of 
perseveration of the sort stressed by Meringer, but of a longer 
duration. I must admit, I am on the whole of the impression 
that we are further than ever from an explanation of slips of 
the tongue ! 

However, I hope I am not wrong when I say that during the 
above investigation of these examples of slips of the tongue, we 
have all obtained a new impression on which it will be of value 
to dwell. We sought the general conditions under which slips 
of the tongue occur, and then the influences which determine 
the kind of distortion resulting from the slip, but we have in 
no way yet considered the effect of the slip of the tongue in 
itself, without regard to its origin. And if we should decide 
to do so we must finally have the courage to assert, "In some 
of the examples cited, the product of the slip also makes sense." 
What do we mean by "it makes sense"? It means, I think, that 
the product of the slip has itself a right to be considered as a 
valid psychic act which also has its purpose, as a manifestation 
having content and meaning. Hitherto we have always spoken 
of errors, but now it seems as if sometimes the error itself were 
quite a normal act, except that it has thrust itself into the place 
of some other expected or intended act. 

In isolated cases this valid meaning seems obvious and unmis- 
takable. When the president with his opening words closes the 

The Psychology of Errors 19 

session of the House of Representatives, instead of opening it, we 
are inclined to consider this error meaningful by reason of our 
knowledge of the circumstances under which the slip occurred. 
He expects no good of the assembly, and would be glad if he 
could terminate it immediately. The pointing out of this mean- 
ing, the interpretation of this error, gives us no difficulty. Or a 
lady, pretending to admire, says to another, "I am sure you 
must have messed up this charming hat yourself. ' ' 8 No scientific 
quibbles in the world can keep us from discovering in this slip 
the idea "this hat is a mess." Or a lady who is known for her 
energetic disposition, relates, "My husband asked the doctor to 
what diet he should keep. But the doctor said he didn't need any 
diet, he should eat and drink whatever I want." This slip of 
tongue is quite an unmistakable expression of a consistent 

Ladies and gentlemen, if it should turn out that not only a 
few cases of slips of the tongue and of errors in general, but 
the larger part of them, have a meaning, then this meaning of 
errors of which we have hitherto made no mention, will un- 
avoidably become of the greatest interest to us and will, with 
justice, force all other points of view into the background. We 
could then ignore all physiological and psycho-physiological con- 
ditions and devote ourselves to the purely psychological investi- 
gations of the sense, that is, the meaning, the purpose of these 
errors. To this end therefore we will not fail, shortly, to study 
a more extensive compilation of material. 

But before we undertake this task, I should like to invite you 
to follow another line of thought with me. It has repeatedly 
happened that a poet has made use of slips of the tongue or 
Borne other error as a means of poetic presentation. This fact 
in itself must prove to us that he considers the error, the slip 
of the tongue for instance, as meaningful ; for he creates it on 
purpose, and it is not a case of the poet committing an acci- 
dental slip of the pen and then letting his pen-slip stand as a 
tongue-slip of his character. He wants to make something clear 
to us by this slip of the tongue, and we may examine what it is, 
whether he wishes to indicate by this that the person in question 
is distracted or fatigued. Of course, we do not wish to exagger- 
ate the importance of the fact that the poet did makft use of 

" Aufgepatzt " instead of " auf geput-tt. " 

20 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

a slip to express his meaning. It could nevertheless really be a 
psychic accident, or meaningful only in very rare cases, and 
the poet would still retain the right to infuse it with meaning 
through his setting. As to their poetic use, however, it would 
not be surprising if we should glean more information concern- 
ing slips of the tongue from the poet than from the philologist 
or the psychiatrist. 

Such an example of a slip of the tongue occurs in Wallenstein 
(Piccolomini, Act 1, Scene 5). In the previous scene, Max Pic- 
colomini has most passionately sided with the Herzog, and dilated 
ardently on the blessings of peace which disclosed themselves 
to him during the trip on which he accompanied Wallenstein 's 
daughter to the camp. He leaves his father and the courtier, 
Questenberg, plunged in deepest consternation. And then the 
fifth scene continues: 


Alas ! Alas ! and stands it so ? 
What friend ! and do we let him go away 
In this delusion let him go away ? 
Not call him back immediately, not open 
His eyes upon the spot ? 


(Recovering himself out of a deep study) 
He has now opened mine, 
And I see more than pleases me. 


What is it? 


A curse on this journey ! 


But why so ? What is it? 


Come, come along, friend ! I must follow up 
The ominous track immediately. Mine eyes 
Are opened now, and I must use them. Come! 
(Draws Q. on with him.} 


What now ? Where go you then ? 

The Psychology of Errors 21 


(Hastily.') To her herself 




(Interrupting him and correcting himself.) 
To the duke. Come, let us go . 

Octavio meant to say, "To him, to the lord," but his tongue 
Blips and through his words "to her" he betrays to us, at least, 
the fact that he had quite clearly recognized the influence which 
makes the young war hero dream of peace. 

A still more impressive example was found by O. Rank in 
Shakespeare. It occurs in the Merchant of Venice, in the famous 
scene in- which the fortunate suitor makes his choice among the 
three caskets ; and perhaps I can do no better than to read to you 
here Bank 's short account of the incident : 

"A slip of the tongue which occurs in Shakespeare's Merchant 
of Venice, Act III, Scene II, is exceedingly delicate in its poetic 
motivation and technically brilliant in its handling. Like the 
slip in Wallenstein quoted by Freud (Psychopathology of 
Everyday Life, 2d ed., p. 48), it shows that the poets well 
know the meaning of these errors and assume their compre- 
hensibility to the audience. Portia, who by her father's wish 
has been bound to the choice of a husband by lot, has so far 
escaped all her unfavored suitors through the fortunes of chance. 
Since she has finally found in Bassanio the suitor to whom she 
is attached, she fears that he, too, will choose the wrong casket. 
She would like to tell him that even in that event he may rest 
assured of her love, but is prevented from so doing by her oath. 
In this inner conflict the poet makes her say to the welcome 
suitor : 


I pray you tarry ; pause a day or two, 

Before you hazard ; for, in choosing wrong 

I lose your company ; therefore, forbear a while : 

There's something tells me, (but it is not love) 

I would not lose you : * * * 

* * * I could teach you 

How to choose right, but then I am forsworn, 

22 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

So will I never be : so may you miss me ; 
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin 
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes. 
They have o'erlook'd me, and divided me; 
One half of me is yours, the other half yours, 
Mine own, I would say : but if mine, then yours, 
And so all yours. 

Just that, therefore, which she meant merely to indicate faintly 
to him or really to conceal from him entirely, namely that even 
before the choice of the lot she was his and loved him, this the 
poet with admirable psychological delicacy of feeling makes 
apparent by her slip ; and is able, by this artistic device, to quiet 
the unbearable uncertainty of the lover, as well as the equal sus- 
pense of the audience as to the issue of the choice." 

Notice, at the end, how subtly Portia reconciles the two decla- 
rations which are contained in the slip, how she resolves the 
contradiction between them and finally still manages to keep her 
promise : 

* * * | DU ^ ^ mine, then yours, 
And so all yours." 

Another thinker, alien to the field of medicine, accidentally 
disclosed the meaning of errors by an observation which has 
anticipated our attempts at explanation. You all know the clever 
satires of Lichtenberg (1742-1749), of which Goethe said, " Where 
he jokes, there lurks a problem concealed." Not infrequently 
the joke also brings to light the solution of the problem. Lichten- 
berg mentions in his jokes and satiric comments the remark that 
he always read "Agamemnon" for "angenomen," 9 so intently 
had he read Homer. Herein is really contained the whole theory 
of misreadings. 

At the next session we will see whether we can agree with the 
poets in their conception of the meaning of psychological errors. 

" Angenomen " is a verb, meaning " to accept." 



AT the last session we conceived the idea of considering 
the error, not in its relation to the intended act which 
it distorted, but by itself alone, and we received the 
impression that in isolated instances it seems to betray 
a meaning of its own. We declared that if this fact could be 
established on a larger scale, then the meaning of the error itself 
would soon come to interest us more than an investigation of the 
circumstances under which the error occurs. 

Let us agree once more on what we understand by the "mean- 
ing" of a psychic process. A psychic process is nothing more 
than the purpose which it serves and the position which it holds 
in a psychic sequence. We can also substitute the word "pur- 
pose" or "intention" for "meaning" in most of our investiga- 
tions. Was it then only a deceptive appearance or a poetic 
exaggeration of the importance of an error which made us believe 
that we recognized a purpose in it ? 

Let us adhere faithfully to the illustrative example of slips 
of the tongue and let us examine a larger number of such ob- 
servations. We then find whole categories of cases in which the 
intention, the meaning of the slip itself, is clearly manifest. This 
is the case above all in those examples in which one says the 
opposite of what one intended. The president said, in his open- 
ing address, "I declare the meeting closed." His intention is 
certainly not ambiguous. The meaning and purpose of his slip 
is that he wants to terminate the meeting. One might point the 
conclusion with the remark "he said so himself." We have only 
taken him at his word. Do not interrupt me at this point by 
remarking that this is not possible, that we know he did not want 
to terminate the meeting but to open it, and that he himself, 
whom we have just recognized as the best judge of his intention, 
will affirm that he meant to open it. In so doing you forget that 
we have agreed to consider the error entirely by itself. Its rela- 


24 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

tion to the intention which it distorts is to be discussed later. 
Otherwise you convict yourself of an error in logic by which 
you smoothly conjure away the problem under discussion; or 
"beg the question," as it is called in English. 

In other cases in which the speaker has not said the exact 
opposite of what he intended, the slip may nevertheless express 
an antithetical meaning. "I am not inclined to appreciate the 
merits of my predecessor." "Inclined" is not the opposite of 
"in a position to/' but it is an open betrayal of intent in sharpest 
contradiction to the attempt to cope gracefully with the situa- 
tion which the speaker is supposed to meet. 

In still other cases the slip simply adds a second meaning to 
the one intended. The sentence then sounds like a contradiction, 
an abbreviation, a condensation of several sentences. Thus the 
lady of energetic disposition, "He may eat and drink whatever 
7 please." The real meaning of this abbreviation is as though 
the lady had said, ' ' He may eat and drink whatever he pleases. 
But what does it matter what he pleases! It is / who do the 
pleasing. ' ' Slips of the tongue often give the impression of such 
an abbreviation. For example, the anatomy professor, after his 
lecture on the human nostril, asks whether the class has thor- 
oughly understood, and after a unanimous answer in the affirma- 
tive, goes on to say: "I can hardly believe that is so, since the 
people who understand the human nostril can, even in a city 
of millions, be counted on one finger I mean, on the fingers of 
one hand." The abbreviated sentence here also has its meaning : 
it expresses the idea that there is only one person who thoroughly 
understands the subject. 

In contrast to these groups of cases are those in which the 
error does not itself express its meaning, in which the slip of 
the tongue does not in itself convey anything intelligible ; cases, 
therefore, which are in sharpest opposition to our expectations. 
If anyone, through a slip of the tongue, distorts a proper name, 
or puts together an unusual combination of syllables, then this 
very common occurrence seems already to have decided in the 
negative the question of whether all errors contain a meaning. 
Yet closer inspection of these examples discloses the fact that 
an understanding of such a distortion is easily possible, indeed, 
that the difference between these unintelligible cases and the 
previous comprehensible ones is not so very great. 

The Psychology of Errors 25 

A man who was asked how his horse was, answered, "Oh, it 
may stake it may take another month." When asked what 
he really meant to say, he explained that he had been thinking 
that it was a sorry business and the coming together of "take" 
and "sorry" gave rise to "stake." (Meringer and Mayer.) 

Another man was telling of some incidents to which he had 
objected, and went on, "and then certain facts were re- filed." 
Upon being questioned, he explained that he meant to stigmatize 
these facts as "filthy." "Revealed" and "filthy" together pro* 
duced the peculiar "re-filled." (Meringer and Mayer.) 

You will recall the case of the young man who wished to 
"inscort" an unknown lady. We took the liberty of resolving 
this word construction into the two words "escort" and "in- 
sult," and felt convinced of this interpretation without demand- 
ing proof of it. You see from these examples that even slips 
can be explained through the concurrence, the interference, of 
two speeches of different intentions. The difference arises only 
from the fact that in the one type of slip the intended speech 
completely crowds out the other, as happens in those slips where 
the opposite is said, while in the other type the intended speech 
must rest content with so distorting or modifying the other as to 
result in mixtures which seem more or less intelligible in them- 

We believe that we have now grasped the secret of a large 
number of slips of the tongue. If we keep this explanation in 
mind we will be able to understand still other hitherto mysteri- 
ous groups. In the case of the distortion of names, for instance, 
we cannot assume that it is always an instance of competition 
between two similar, yet different names. Still, the second in- 
tention is not difficult to guess. The distorting of names occurs 
frequently enough not as a slip of the tongue, but as an attempt 
to give the name an ill-sounding or debasing character. It is 
a familiar device or trick of insult, which persons of culture 
early learned to do without, though they do not give it up 
readily. They often clothe it in the form of a joke, though, to 
be sure, the joke is of a very low order. Just to cite a gross 
and ugly example of such a distortion of a name, I mention 
the fact that the name of the President of the French Repub- 
lic, Poincare, has been at times, lately, transformed into 
" Schweinskarre." It is therefore easy to assume that there is 

26 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

also such an intention to insult in the case of other slips of the 
tongue which result in the distortion of a name. In consequence 
of our adherence to this conception, similar explanations force 
themselves upon us, in the case of slips of the tongue whose 
effect is comical or absurd. "I call upon you to hiccough the 
health of our chief." 1 Here the solemn atmosphere is unex- 
pectedly disturbed by the introduction of a word that awakens 
an unpleasant image; and from the prototype of certain ex- 
pressions of insult and offense we cannot but suppose that there 
is an intention striving for expression which is in sharp contrast 
to the ostensible respect, and which could be expressed about 
as follows, ' ' You needn 't believe this. I 'm not really in earnest. 
I don't give a whoop for the fellow etc." A similar trick 
which passes for a slip of the tongue is that which transforms 
a harmless word into one which is indecent and obscene. 2 

We know that many persons have this tendency of intention- 
ally making harmless words obscene for the sake of a certain 
lascivious pleasure it gives them. It passes as wit, and we 
always have to ask about a person of whom we hear such a 
thing, whether he intended it as a joke or whether it occurred 
as a slip of the tongue. 

Well, here we have solved the riddle of errors with relatively 
little trouble! They are not accidents, but valid psychic acts. 
They have their meaning ; they arise through the collaboration 
or better, the mutual interference of two different intentions. 
I can well understand that at this point you want to swamp 
me with a deluge of questions and doubts to be answered and 
resolved before we can rejoice over this first result of our labors. 
I truly do not wish to push you to premature conclusions. Let 
us dispassionately weigh each thing in turn, one after the other. 

What would you like to say ? Whether I think this explana- 
tion is valid for all cases of slips of the tongue or only for a 
certain number? Whether one can extend this same conception 
to all the many other errors to mis-reading, slips of the pen, 
forgetting, picking up the wrong object, mislaying things, etc? 
In the face of the psychic nature of errors, what meaning is left 
to the factors of fatigue, excitement, absent-mindedness and 

1 The young man here said ' ' auf zustossen ' ' instead of ' ' anzustossen. ' ' 
* Prof. Freud here gives the two examples, quite untranslatable, of 

" apopos " instead of " apropos," and " eiseheiszweibchen " instead of 

" e iwe iszscheibchen. " 

The Psychology of Errors 27 

distraction of attention ? Moreover, it is easy to see that of the 
two competing meanings in an error, one is always public, but 
the other not always. But what does one do in order to guess 
the latter ? And when one believes one has guessed it, how does 
one go about proving that it is not merely a probable meaning, 
but that it is the only correct meaning? Is there anything 
else you wish to ask? If not, then I will continue. I would 
remind you of the fact that we really are not much concerned 
with the errors themselves, but we wanted only to learn some- 
thing of value to psychoanalysis from their study. Therefore, 
I put the question : What are these purposes or tendencies which 
can thus interfere with others, and what relation is there be- 
tween the interfering tendencies and those interfered with? 
Thus our labor really begins anew, after the explanation of the 

Now, is this the explanation of all tongue slips? I am very 
much inclined to think so and for this reason, that as often as 
one investigates a case of a slip of the tongue, it reduces itself 
to this type of explanation. But on the other hand, one cannot 
prove that a slip of the tongue cannot occur without this 
mechanism. It may be so; for our purposes it is a matter of 
theoretical indifference, since the conclusions which we wish to 
draw by way of an introduction to psychoanalysis remain un- 
touched, even if only a minority of the cases of tongue slips come 
within our conception, which is surely not the case. I shall 
anticipate the next question, of whether or not we may extend 
to other types of errors what we have gleaned from slips of 
the tongue, and answer it in the affirmative. You will convince 
yourselves of that conclusion when we turn our attention to the 
investigation of examples of pen slips, picking up wrong objects, 
etc. I would advise you, however, for technical reasons, to 
postpone this task until we shall have investigated the tongue 
slip itself more thoroughly. 

The question of what meaning those factors which have been 
placed in the foreground by some authors, namely, the factors 
of circulatory disturbances, fatigue, excitement, absent-minded- 
ness, the theory of the distraction of attention the question of 
what meaning those factors can now have for us if we accept the 
above described psychic mechanism of tongue slips, deserves a 
more detailed answer. You will note that we do not deny these 

28 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

factors. In fact, it is not very often that psychoanalysis denies 
anything which is asserted on the other side. As a rule psycho- 
analysis merely adds something to such assertions and occasion- 
ally it does happen that what had hitherto been overlooked, 
and was newly added by psychoanalysis, is just the essential 
thing. The influence on the occurrence of tongue slips of such 
physiological predispositions as result from slight illness, cir- 
culatory disturbances and conditions of fatigue, should be 
acknowledged without more ado. Daily personal experience 
can convince you of that. But how little is explained by such 
an admission! Above all, they are not necessary conditions of 
the errors. Slips of the tongue are just as possible when one is 
in perfect health and normal condition. Bodily factors, there- 
fore, have only the value of acting by way of facilitation and 
encouragement to the peculiar psychic mechanism of a slip of 
the tongue. 

To illustrate this relationship, I once used a simile which I will 
now repeat because I know of no better one as substitute. Let 
us suppose that some dark night I go past a lonely spot and 
am there assaulted by a rascal who takes my watch and purse; 
and then, since I did not see the face of the robber clearly, I 
make my complaint at the nearest police station in the following 
words: ''Loneliness and darkness have just robbed me of my 
valuables." The police commissioner could then say to me: 
"You seem to hold an unjustifiably extreme mechanistic con- 
ception. Let us rather state the case as follows : Under cover 
of darkness, and favored by the loneliness, an unknown robber 
seized your valuables. The essential task in your case seems 
to me to be to discover the robber. Perhaps we can then take 
his booty from him again." 

Such psycho-physiological moments as excitement, absent- 
mindedness and distracted attention, are obviously of small as- 
sistance to us for the purpose of explanation. They are mere 
phrases, screens behind which we will not be deterred from 
looking. The question is rather what in such cases has caused 
the excitement, the particular diversion of attention. The 
influence of syllable sounds, word resemblances and the custom- 
ary associations which words arouse should also be recognized 
as having significance. They facilitate the tongue slip by point- 
ing the path which it can take. But if I have a path before 

The Psychology of Errors 29 

me, does that fact as a matter of course determine that I will 
follow it ? After all, I must have a stimulus to make me decide 
for it, and, in addition, a force which carries me forward on 
this path. These sound and word relationships therefore serve 
also only to facilitate the tongue slip, just as the bodily dis- 
positions facilitate them; they cannot give the explanation for 
the word itself. Just consider, for example, the fact that in an 
enormously large number of cases, my lecturing is not disturbed 
by the fact that the words which I use recall others by their 
sound resemblance, that they are intimately associated with their 
opposites, or arouse common associations. We might add here 
the observation of the philosopher Wundt, that slips of the 
tongue occur when, in consequence of bodily fatigue, the ten- 
dency to association gains the upper hand over the intended 
speech. This would sound very plausible if it were not con- 
tradicted by experiences which proved that from one series of 
cases of tongue-slips bodily stimuli were absent, and from 
another, the association stimuli were absent. 

However, your next question is one of particular interest to 
me, namely : in what way can one establish the existence of the 
two mutually antagonistic tendencies? You probably do not 
suspect how significant this question is. It is true, is it not, that 
one of the two tendencies, the tendency which suffers the inter- 
ference, is always unmistakable? The person who commits the 
error is aware of it and acknowledges it. It is the other ten- 
dency, what we call the interfering tendency, which causes 
doubt and hesitation. Now we have already learned, and you 
have surely not forgotten, that these tendencies are, in a series 
of cases, equally plain. That is indicated by the effect of the 
slip, if only we have the courage to let this effect be valid in 
itself. The president who said the opposite of what he meant 
to say made it clear that he wanted to open the meeting, but 
equally clear that he would also have liked to terminate it. 
Here the meaning is so plain that there is nothing left to be 
interpreted. But the other cases in which the interfering ten- 
dency merely distorts the original, without bringing itself to 
full expression how can one guess the interfering meaning 
from the distortion ? 

By a very sure and simple method, in the first series of cases, 
namely, by the same method by which one establishes the 

30 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

existence of the meaning interfered with. The latter is immedi- 
ately supplied by the speaker, who instantly adds the originally 
intended expression. "It may stake no, it may take another 
month." Now we likewise ask him to express the interfering 
meaning; we ask him: "Now, why did you first say staked" 
He answers, ' ' I meant to say ' This is a sorry business. ' ' ' And 
in the other case of the tongue slip re- filed the subject also 
affirms that he meant to say "It is a fil-thy business," but then 
moderated his expression and turned it into something else. 
Thus the discovery of the interfering meaning was here as suc- 
cessful as the discovery of the one interfered with. Nor did I 
unintentionally select as examples cases which were neither re- 
lated nor explained by me or by a supporter of my theories. 
Yet a certain investigation was necessary in both cases in order 
to obtain the solution. One had to ask the speaker why he made 
this slip, what he had to say about it. Otherwise he might per- 
haps have passed it by without seeking to explain it. When 
questioned, however, he furnished the explanation by means of 
the first thing that came to his mind. And now you see, ladies 
and gentlemen, that this slight investigation and its consequence 
are already a psychoanalysis, and the prototype of every 
psychoanalytic investigation which we shall conduct more ex- 
tensively at a later time. 

Now, am I unduly suspicious if I suspect that at the same 
moment in which psychoanalysis emerges before you, your re- 
sistence to psychoanalysis also raises its head? Are you not 
anxious to raise the objection that the information given by the 
subject we questioned, and who committed the slip, is not proof 
sufficient? He naturally has the desire, you say, to meet the 
challenge, to explain the slip, and hence he says the first thing 
he can think of if it seems relevant. But that, you say, is 
no proof that this is really the way the slip happened. It might 
be so, but it might just as well be otherwise, you say. Some- 
thing else might have occurred to him which might have fitted 
the case just as well and better. 

It is remarkable how little respect, at bottom, you have for a 
psychic fact! Imagine that someone has decided to undertake 
the chemical analysis of a certain substance, and has secured a 
sample of the substance, of a certain weight so and so many 

The Psychology of Errors 31 

milligrams. From this weighed sample certain definite conclu- 
sions can be drawn. Do you think it would ever occur to a 
chemist to discredit these conclusions by the argument that the 
isolated substance might have had some other weight? Every- 
one yields to the fact that it was just this weight and no other, 
and confidently builds his further conclusions upon that fact. 
But when you are confronted by the psychic fact that the sub- 
ject, when questioned, had a certain idea, you will not accept 
that as valid, but say some other idea might just as easily have 
occurred to him ! The trouble is that you believe in the illusion 
of psychic freedom and will not give it up. I regret that on 
this point I find myself in complete opposition to your views. 

Now you will relinquish this point only to take up your re- 
sistance at another place. You will continue, "We understand 
that it is the peculiar technique of psychoanalysis that the solu- 
tion of its problems is discovered by the analyzed subject him- 
self. Let us take another example, that in which the speaker 
calls upon the assembly 'to hiccough the health of their chief.' 
The interfering idea in this case, you say, is the insult. It is 
that which is the antagonist of the expression of conferring an 
honor. But that is mere interpretation on your part, based on 
observations extraneous to the slip. If in this case you question 
the originator of the slip, he will not affirm that he intended an 
insult, on the contrary, he will deny it energetically. Why do 
you not give up your unverifiable interpretation in the face of 
this plain objection?" 

Yes, this time you struck a hard problem. I can imagine the 
unknown speaker. He is probably an assistant to the guest of 
honor, perhaps already a minor official, a young man with the 
brightest prospects. I will press him as to whether he did not 
after all feel conscious of something which may have worked 
in opposition to the demand that he do honor to the chief. What 
a fine success 111 have! He becomes impatient and suddenly 
bursts out on me, "Look here, you'd better stop this cross- 
examination, or I'll get unpleasant. Why, you'll spoil my whole 
career with your suspicions. I simply said *aw/-gestossen' in- 
stead of 'an-gestossen,' because I'd already said 'auf twice in 
the same sentence. It's the thing that Meringer calls a per- 
servation, and there's no other meaning that you can twist out 
of it. Do you understand me? That's all." H'm, this is a 

32 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

surprising reaction, a really energetic denial. I see that there 
is nothing more to be obtained from the young man, but I also 
remark to myself that he betrays a strong personal interest in 
having his slip mean nothing. Perhaps you, too, agree that it 
is not right for him immediately to become so rude over a purely 
theoretical investigation, but, you will conclude, he really must 
know what he did and did not mean to say. 

Really? Perhaps that's open to question nevertheless. 

But now you think you have me. ''So that is your tech- 
nique," I hear you say. "When the person who has committed 
a slip gives an explanation which fits your theory, then you 
declare him the final authority on the subject. 'He says so him- 
self ! ' But if what he says does not fit into your scheme, then 
you suddenly assert that what he says does not count, that one 
need not believe him. ' ' 

Yet that is certainly true. I can give you a similar case in 
which the procedure is apparently just as monstrous. When a 
defendant confesses to a deed, the judge believes his confession. 
But if he denies it, the judge does not believe him. Were it 
otherwise, there would be no way to administer the law, and 
despite occasional miscarriages you must acknowledge the value 
of this system. 

Well, are you then the judge, and is the person who com- 
mitted the slip a defendant before you ? Is a slip of the tongue 
a crime ? 

Perhaps we need not even decline this comparison. But just 
see to what far-reaching differences we have come by penetrating 
somewhat into the seemingly harmless problems of the psy- 
chology of errors, differences which at this stage we do not at 
all know how to reconcile. I offer you a preliminary compromise 
on the basis of the analogy of the judge and the defendant. You 
will grant me that the meaning of an error admits of no doubt 
when the subject under analysis acknowledges it himself. I 
in turn will admit that a direct proof for the suspected meaning 
cannot be obtained if the subject denies us the information; 
and, of course, that is also the case when the subject is not 
present to give us the information. We are, then, as in the case 
of the legal procedure, dependent on circumstances which make 
a decision at one time seem more, and at another time, less 
probable to us. At law, one has to declare a defendant guilty 

The Psychology of Errors 33 

on circumstantial evidence for practical reasons. We see no 
such necessity; but neither are we forced to forego the use of 
these circumstances. It would be a mistake to believe that a 
science consists of nothing but conclusively proved theorems, 
and any such demand would be unjust. Only a person with a 
mania for authority, a person who must replace his religious 
catechism w.ith some other, even though it be scientific, would 
make such a demand. Science has but few apodeictic precepts 
in its catechism; it consists chiefly of assertions which it has 
developed to certain degrees of probability. It is actually a 
symptom of scientific thinking if one is content with these 
approximations of certainty and is able to carry on constructive 
work despite the lack of the final confirmation. 

But where do we get the facts for our interpretations, the 
circumstances for our proof, when the further remarks of the 
subject under analysis do not themselves elucidate the meaning 
of the error? From many sources. First of all, from the 
analogy with phenomena extraneous to the psychology of errors ; 
as, for example, when we assert that the distortion of a name as 
a slip of the tongue has the same insulting significance as an 
intentional name distortion. We get them also from the psychic 
situation' in which the error occurred, from our knowledge of 
the character of the person who committed the error, from the 
impressions which that person received before making the error, 
and to which he may possibly have reacted with this error. 
As a rule, what happens is that we find the meaning of the error 
according to general principles. It is then only a conjecture, 
a suggestion as to what the meaning may be, and we then obtain 
our proof from examination of the psychic situation. Sometimes, 
too, it happens that we have to wait for subsequent develop- 
ments, which have announced themselves, as it were, through 
the error, in order to find our conjecture verified . 

I cannot easily give you proof of this if I have to limit myself 
to the field of tongue slips, although even here there are a few 
good examples. The young man who wished to "inscort" the 
lady is certainly shy ; the lady whose husband may eat and drink 
whatever she wants I know to be one of those energetic women 
who know how to rule in the home. Or take the following case : 
A.t a general meeting of the Concordia Club, a young member 
delivers a vehement speech in opposition, in the course of which 
he addresses the officers of the society as: "Fellow committee 

34 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

lenders." We will conjecture that some conflicting idea mili- 
tated in him against his opposition, an idea which was in some 
way based on a connection with money lending. As a matter 
of fact, we learn from our informant that the speaker was in 
constant money difficulties, and had attempted to raise a loan. 
As a conflicting idea, therefore, we may safely interpolate the 
idea, "Be more moderate in your opposition, these are the same 
people who are to grant you the loan. ' ' 

But I can give you a wide selection of such circumstantial 
proof if I delve into the wide field of other kinds of error. 

If anyone forgets an otherwise familiar proper name, or has 
difficulty in retaining it in his memory despite all efforts, then 
the conclusion lies close at hand, that he has something against 
the bearer of this name and does not like to think of him. Con- 
sider in this connection the following revelation of the psychic 
situation in which this error occurs : 

"A Mr. Y. fell in love, without reciprocation, with a lady 
who soon after married a Mr. X. In spite of the fact that Mr. 
Y. has known Mr. X. a long time, and even has business rela- 
tions with him, he forgets his name over and over again, so that 
he found it necessary on several occasions to ask other people 
the man's name when he wanted to write to Mr. X." 3 

Mr. Y. obviously does not want to have his fortunate rival in 
mind under any condition. "Let him never be thought of." 

Another example: A lady makes inquiries at her doctor's 
concerning a mutual acquaintance, but speaks of her by her 
maiden name. She has forgotten her married name. She admits 
that she was much displeased by the marriage, and could not 
stand this friend's husband. 4 

Later we shall have much to say in other relations about the 
matter of forgetting names. At present we are predominantly 
interested in the psychic situation in which the lapse of memory 

The forgetting of projects can quite commonly be traced to 
an antagonistic current which does not wish to carry out the 
project. "We psychoanalysts are not alone in holding this view, 
but this is the general conception to which all persons sub- 
scribe the daily affairs, and which they first deny in theory. 

* From C. G. Jung. 
4 From A. A. Brill. 

The Psychology of Errors 35 

The patron who makes apologies to his protege, saying that he 
has forgotten his requests, has not squared himself with his 
protege. The protege immediately thinks: "There's nothing 
to that; he did promise but he really doesn't want to do it." 
Hence, daily life also proscribes forgetting, in certain connec- 
tions, and the difference between the popular and the psycho- 
analytic conception of these errors appears to be removed. 
Imagine a housekeeper who receives her guest with the words: 
"What, you come to-day? Why, I had totally forgotten that I 
had invited you for to-day"; or the young man who might tell 
his sweetheart that he had forgotten to keep the rendezvous 
which they planned. He is sure not to admit it, it were better 
for him to invent the most improbable excuses on the spur of the 
moment, hindrances which prevented him from coming at that 
time, and which made it impossible for him to communicate the 
situation to her. We all know that in military matters the 
excuse of having forgotten something is useless, that it protects 
one from no punishment; and we must consider this attitude 
justified. Here we suddenly find everyone agreed that a certain 
error is significant, and everyone agrees what its meaning is. 
Why are they not consistent enough to extend this insight to 
the other errors, and fully to acknowledge them? Of course, 
there is also an answer to this. 

If the meaning of this forgetting of projects leaves room for 
so little doubt among laymen, you will be less surprised to find 
that poets make use of these errors in the same sense. Those 
of you who have seen or read Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra 
will recall that Caesar, when departing in the last scene, i 
pursued by the idea that there was something more he intended 
to do, but that he had forgotten it. Finally he discovers what it 
is : to take leave of Cleopatra. This small device of the author 
is meant to ascribe to the great Caesar a superiority which he 
did not possess, and to which he did not at all aspire. You can 
learn from historical sources that Caesar had Cleopatra follow 
him to Kome, and that she was staying there with her little 
Caesarion when Caesar was murdered, whereupon she fled the 

The cases of forgetting projects are as a rule so clear that 
they are of little use for our purpose, i.e., discovering in the 
psychic situation circumstantial evidence of the meaning of 

36 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the error. Let us, therefore, turn to a particularly ambiguous 
and untransparent error, that of losing and mislaying objects. 
That we ourselves should have a purpose in losing an object, an 
accident frequently so painful, will certainly seem incredible 
to you. But there are many instances similar to the following : 
A young man loses the pencil which he had liked very much. 
The day before he had received a letter from his brother-in-law, 
which concluded with the words, ' ' For the present I have neither 
the inclination nor the time to be a party to your frivolity and 
your idleness." 5 It so happened that the pencil had been a 
present from this brother-in-law. Without this coincidence we 
could not, of course, assert that the loss involved any intention 
to get rid of the gift. Similar cases are numerous. Persons 
lose objects when they have fallen out with the donors, and 
no longer wish to be reminded of them. Or again, objects may be 
lost if one no longer likes the things themselves, and wants to 
supply oneself with a pretext for substituting other and better 
things in their stead. Letting a thing fall and break naturally 
shows the same intention toward that object. Can one consider 
it accidental when a school child just before his birthday loses, 
ruins or breaks his belongings, for example his school bag or 
his watch ? 

He who has frequently experienced the annoyance of not 
being able to find something which he has himself put away, 
will also be unwilling to believe there was any intent behind the 
loss. And yet the examples are not at all rare in which the 
attendant circumstances of the mislaying point to a tendency 
temporarily or permanently to get rid of the object. Perhaps 
the most beautiful example of this sort is the following: A 
young man tells me : " A few years ago a misunderstanding arose 
in my married life. I felt my wife was too cool and even though 
1 willingly acknowledged her excellent qualities, we lived with- 
out any tenderness between us. One day she brought me a book 
which she had thought might interest me. I thanked her for 
this attention, promised to read the book, put it in a handy 
place, and couldn't find it again. Several months passed thus, 
during which I occasionally remembered this mislaid book and 
tried in vain to find it. About half a year later my beloved 
mother, who lived at a distance from us, fell ill. My wife left 

-FromB. Dattner. 

The Psychology of Errors 37 

the house in order to nurse her mother-in-law. The condition 
of the patient became serious, and gave my wife an opportunity 
of showing her best side. One evening I came home filled with 
enthusiasm and gratitude toward my wife. I approached my 
writing desk, opened a certain drawer with no definite intention 
but as if with somnambulistic certainty, and the first thing I 
found is the book so long mislaid." 

With the cessation of the motive, the inability to find the 
mislaid object also came to an end. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I could increase this collection of ex- 
amples indefinitely. But I do not wish to do so here. In my 
Psychopathology of Everyday Life (first published in 1901), 
you will find only too many instances for the study of errors. 6 

All these examples demonstrate the same thing repeatedly: 
namely, they make it seem probable that errors have a meaning, 
and show how one may guess or establish that meaning from 
the attendant circumstances. I limit myself to-day because we 
have confined ourselves to the purpose of profiting in the prepa- 
ration for psychoanalysis from the study of these phenomena. 
1 must, however, still go into two additional groups of observa- 
tions, into the accumulated and combined errors and into the 
confirmation of our interpretations by means of subsequent 

The accumulated and combined errors are surely the fine 
flower of their species. If we were interested only in proving 
that errors may have a meaning, we would limit ourselves to the 
accumulated and combined errors in the first place, for here 
the meaning is unmistakable, even to the dullest intelligence, 
and can force conviction upon the most critical judgment. The 
accumulation of manifestations betrays a stubbornness such as 
could never come about by accident, but which fits closely the 
idea of design. Finally, the interchange of certain kinds of 
error with each other shows us what is the important and es- 
sential element of the error, not its form or the means of which 
it avails itself, but the purpose which it serves and which is to be 
achieved by the most various paths. Thus I will give you a case 
of repeated forgetting. Jones recounts that he once allowed a 
letter to lie on his writing desk several days for reasons quite 

So also in the writings of A. Maeder (French), A. A. Brill (English), 
J. Starke (Dutch) and others. 

38 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

unknown. Finally lie made up his mind to mail it; but it was 
returned from the dead letter office, for he had forgotten to 
address it. After he had addressed it he took it to the post 
office, but this time without a stamp. At this point he finally 
had to admit to himself his aversion against sending the letter 
at all. 

In another case a mistake is combined with mislaying an 
object. A lady is traveling to Rome with her brother-in-law, a 
famous artist. The visitor is much feted by the Germans living 
in Rome, and receives as a gift, among other things, a gold medal 
of ancient origin. The lady is vexed by the fact that her brother- 
in-law does not sufficiently appreciate the beautiful object. 
After she leaves her sister and reaches her home, she discovers 
when unpacking that she has brought with her how, she does 
not know the medal. She immediately informs her brother- 
in-law of this fact by letter, and gives him notice that she will 
send the medal back to Rome the next day. But on the follow- 
ing day, the medal has been so cleverly mislaid that it can 
neither be found nor sent, and at this point it begins to dawn 
upon the lady that her "absent-mindedness" means, namely, 
that she wants to keep the object for herself. 7 

I have already given you an example of a combination of 
forgetfulness and error in which someone first forgot a rendez- 
vous and then, with the firm intention of not forgetting it a 
second time, appeared at the wrong hour. A quite analogous 
case was told me from his own experience, by a friend who pur- 
sues literary interests in addition to his scientific ones. He said : 
"A few years ago I accepted the election to the board of a 
certain literary society, because I hoped that the society could 
at some time be of use to me in helping obtain the production 
of my drama, and, despite my lack of interest, I took part in 
the meetings every Friday. A few months ago I received the 
assurance of a production in the theatre in F., and since that 
time it happens regularly that I forget the meetings of that 
society. When I read your article on these things, I was 
ashamed of my forgetfulness, reproached myself with the mean- 
ness of staying away now that I no longer need these people 
and determined to be sure not to forget next Friday. I kept 
reminding myself of this resolution until I carried it out and 

TromE. Eeitler. 

The Psychology of Errors 39 

stood before the door of the meeting room. To my astonishment, 
it was closed, the meeting was already over ; for I had mistaken 
the day. It was already Saturday." 

It would be tempting enough to collect similar observations, 
but I will go no further; I will let you glance instead upon 
those cases in which our interpretation has to wait for its proof 
upon future developments. 

The chief condition of these cases is conceivably that the ex- 
isting psychic situation is unknown to us or inaccessible to our 
inquiries. At that time our interpretation has only the value 
of a conjecture to which we ourselves do not wish to grant too 
much weight. Later, however, something happens which shows 
us how justified was our interpretation even at that time. 1 
was once the guest of a young married couple and heard the 
young wife laughingly tell of a recent experience, of how on 
the day after her return from her honeymoon she had hunted 
up her unmarried sister again in order to go shopping with her, 
as in former times, while her husband went to his business. 
Suddenly she noticed a gentleman on the other side of the street, 
and she nudged her sister, saying, "Why look, there goes Mr. 
K." She had forgotten that this gentleman was her husband 
of some weeks' standing. I shuddered at this tale but did not 
dare to draw the inference. The little anecdote did not occur 
to me again until a year later, after this marriage had come to a 
most unhappy end. 

A. Maeder tells of a lady who, the day before her wedding, 
forgot to try on her wedding dress and to the despair of the 
dressmaker only remembered it later in the evening. He adds 
in connection with this forgetfulness the fact that she divorced 
her husband soon after. I know a lady now divorced from her 
husband, who, in managing her fortune, frequently signed docu- 
ments with her maiden name, and this many years before she 
really resumed it. I know of other women who lost their wed- 
ding rings on their honeymoon and also know that the course 
of the marriage gave a meaning to this accident. And now one 
more striking example with a better termination. It is said that 
the marriage of a famous German chemist did not take place 
because he forgot the hour of the wedding, and instead of going 
to the church went to the laboratory. He was wise enough to 

40 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

rest satisfied with this one attempt, and died unmarried at a 
ripe old age. 

Perhaps the idea has also come to you that in these cases 
mistakes have taken the place of the Ormna or omens of the 
ancients. Some of the Omina really were nothing more than 
mistakes; for example, when a person stumbled or fell down. 
Others, to be sure, bore the characteristics of objective occur- 
rences rather than that of subjective acts. But you would not 
believe how difficult it sometimes is to decide in a specific in- 
stance whether the act belongs to the one or the other group. It 
so frequently knows how to masquerade as a passive experience. 

Everyone of us who can look back over a longer or shorter 
life experience will probably say that he might have spared him- 
self many disappointments and painful surprises if he had found 
the courage and decision to interpret as omens the little mistakes 
which he made in his intercourse with people, and to consider 
them as indications of the intentions which were still being kept 
secret. As a rule, one does not dare do this. One would feel 
as though he were again becoming superstitious via a detour 
through science. But not all omens come true, and you will 
understand from our theories that they need not all come true. 



WE may certainly put it down as the conclusion of 
our labors up to this point that errors have a 
meaning, and we may make this conclusion the 
basis of our further investigations. Let me stress 
the fact once more that we do not assert and for our purposes 
need not assert that every single mistake which occurs is 
meaningful, although I consider that probable. It will suffice 
us if we prove the presence of such a meaning with relative 
frequency in the various forms of errors. These various forms, 
by the way, behave differently in this respect. In the cases of 
tongue slips, pen slips, etc., the occurrences may take place on 
a purely physiological basis. In the group based on forgetful- 
ness (forgetting names or projects, mislaying objects, etc.) 
I cannot believe in such a basis. There does very probably 
exist a type of case in which the loss of objects should be 
recognized as unintentional. Of the mistakes which occur in 
daily life, only a certain portion can in any way be brought 
within our conception. You must keep this limitation in mind 
when we start henceforth from the assumption that mistakes 
are psychic acts and arise through the mutual interference of 
two intentions. 

Herein we have the first result of psychoanalysis. Psychology 
hitherto knew nothing of the occurrence of such interferences 
and the possibility that they might have such manifestations as 
a consequence. We have widened the province of the world of 
psychic phenomena quite considerably, and have brought into 
the province of psychology phenomena which formerly were 
not attributed to it. 

Let us tarry a moment longer over the assertion that errors 
are psychic acts. Does such an assertion contain more than 
the former declaration that they have a meaning? I do not 
believe so. On the contrary, it is rather more indefinite and 
open to greater misunderstanding. Everything which can be 


42 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

observed about the psychic life will on occasion be designated 
as a psychic phenomenon. But it will depend on whether the 
specific psychic manifestations resulted directly from bodily, 
organic, material influences, in which case their investigation 
will not fall within the province of psychology, or whether it was 
more immediately the result of other psychic occurrences back 
cf which, somewhere, the series of organic influences then begins. 
"We have the latter condition of affairs before us when we desig- 
nate a phenomenon as a psychic manifestation, and for that 
reason it is more expedient to put our assertion in this form: 
the phenomena are meaningful; they have a meaning. By 
"meaning" we understand significance, purpose, tendency and 
position in a sequence of psychic relations. 

There are a number of other occurrences which are very 
closely related to errors, but which this particular name no 
longer fits. We call them accidental and symptomatic acts. 
They also have the appearance of being unmotivated, the appear- 
ance of insignificance and unimportance, but in addition, and 
more plainly, of superfluity. They are differentiated from errors 
by the absence of another intention with which they collide and 
by which they are disturbed. On the other side they pass over 
without a definite boundary line into the gestures and move- 
ments which we count among expressions of the emotions. 
Among these accidental acts belong all those apparently playful, 
apparently purposeless performances in connection with our 
clothing, parts of our body, objects within reach, as well as the 
omission of such performances, and the melodies which we hum 
to ourselves. I venture the assertion that all these phenomena 
are meaningful and capable of interpretation in the same way 
as are the errors, that they are small manifestations of other 
more important psychic processes, valid psychic acts. But I do 
not intend to linger over this new enlargement of the province of 
psychic phenomena, but rather to return to the topic of errors, 
in the consideration of which the important psychoanalytic in- 
quiries can be worked out with far greater clarity. 

The most interesting questions which we formulated while 
considering errors, and which we have not yet answered, are, 
I presume, the following : We said that the errors are the result 
of the mutual interference of two different intentions, of which 
the one can be called the intention interfered with, and the 

The Psychology of Errors 43 

other the interfering intention. The intentions interfered with 
give rise to no further questions, but concerning the others 
we want to know, firstly, what kind of intentions are these which 
arise as disturbers of others, and secondly, in what proportions 
are the interfering related to the interfered ? 

Will you permit me again to take the slip of the tongue as 
representative of the whole species and allow me to answer the 
second question before the first? 

The interfering intention in the tongue slip may stand in a 
significant relation to the intention interfered with, and then 
the former contains a contradiction of the latter, correcting 
or supplementing it. Or, to take a less intelligible and more 
interesting case, the interfering intention has nothing to do with 
the intention interfered with. 

Proofs for the first of the two relations we can find without 
trouble in the examples which we already know and in others 
similar to those. In almost all cases of tongue slips where one 
says the contrary of what he intended, where the interfering in- 
tention expresses the antithesis of the intention interfered with, 
the error is the presentation of the conflict between two irre- 
concilable strivings. "I declare the meeting opened, but would 
rather have it closed," is the meaning of the president's slip. 
A political paper which has been accused of corruptibility, de- 
fends itself in an article meant to reach a climax in the words : 
"Our readers will testify that we have always interceded for the 
good of all in the most disinterested manner." But the editor 
who had been entrusted with the composition of the defence, 
wrote, "in the most interested manner." That is, he thinks 
"To be sure, I have to write this way, but I know better." A 
representative of the people who urges that the Kaiser should be 
told the truth "riickhaltlos," hears an inner voice which is 
frightened by his boldness, and which through a slip changes 
the "riickhaltlos" into "ruckgr atlas." 1 

In the examples familiar to you, which give the impression 
of contraction and abbreviation, it is a question of a correction, 
an addition or continuation by which the second tendency mani- 
fests itself together with the first. "Things were revealed, but 
better say it right out, they were filthy, therefore, things were 

1 In the German Reichstag, November, 1908. ' ' Biickhaltos ' ' means ' ' unre- 
servedly. " " Riiekgratlos ' ' means ' ' without backbone. ' ' 

44 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

re filed." 2 "The people who understand this topic can be counted 
on the fingers of one hand, but no, there is really only one who 
understands it; therefore, counted on one finger." Or, "My 
husband may eat and drink whatever he wants. But you know 
very well that 7 don 't permit him to want anything ; therefore 
he may eat and drink whatever / want." In all these cases, 
therefore, the slip arises from the content of the intention itself, 
or is connected with it. 

The other type of relationship between the two interfering 
intentions seems strange. If the interfering intention has noth- 
ing to do with the content of the one interfered with, where 
then does it come from and how does it happen to make itself 
manifest as interference just at that point? The observation 
which alone can furnish an answer here, recognizes the fact 
that the interference originates in a thought process which has 
just previously occupied the person in question and which then 
has that after-effect, irrespective of whether it has already found 
expression in speech or not. It is therefore really to be desig- 
nated as perseveration, but not necessarily as the perseveration 
of spoken words. Here also there is no lack of an associative 
connection between the interfering and the interfered with, yet 
it is not given in the content, but artificially restored, often by 
means of forced connecting links. 

Here is a simple example of this, which I myself observed. 
In our beautiful Dolomites, I meet two Viennese ladies who are 
gotten up as tourists. I accompany them a short distance and 
we discuss the pleasures, but also the difficulties of the tourist's 
mode of life. One lady admits this way of spending the day 
entails much discomfort. "It is true," she says, "that it is 
not at all pleasant, when one has tramped all day in the sun, 
and waist and shirt are soaked through. ' ' At this point in this 
sentence she suddenly has to overcome a slight hesitancy. Then 
she continues: "But then, when one gets nach Hose, and can 
change . . . "* We did not analyze this slip, but I am sure 

* * ' Zum Vorschein bringen, ' ' means to bring to light. ' ' Schweinereien ' ' 
means filthiness or obscurity. The telescoping of the two ideas, resulting 
in the word " Vorschwein, " plainly reveals the speaker's opinion of the 

* The lady meant to say ' ' Nach Hause, " "to reach home. ' ' The word 
" Hose " means " drawers." The preservating content of her hesitancy 
it hereby revealed. 

The Psychology of Errors 45 

you can easily understand it. The lady wanted to make the 
enumeration more complete and to say, "Waist, shirt and 
drawers." From motives of propriety, the mention of the 
drawers (Hose) was suppressed, but in the next sentence of 
quite independent content the unuttered word came to light as 
a distortion of the similar word, house (Hause) . 

Now we can turn at last to the long delayed main question, 
namely, what kind of intentions are these which get themselves 
expressed in an unusual way as interferences of others, intentions 
within whose great variety we wish nevertheless to find what is 
common to them all? If we examine a series of them to this 
end, we will soon find that they divide themselves into three 
groups. In the first group belong the cases in which the inter- 
fering tendency is known to the speaker, and which, moreover, 
was felt by him before the slip. Thus, in the case of the slip 
"refilled," the speaker not only admits that he agreed with the 
judgment "filthy," on the incidents in question, but also that 
he had the intention (which he later abandoned) of giving it 
verbal expression. A second group is made up of those cases 
in which the interfering tendency is immediately recognized by 
the subject as his own, but in which he is ignorant of the fact 
that the interfering tendency was active in him just before the 
slip. He therefore accepts our interpretation, yet remains to a 
certain extent surprised by it. Examples of this situation can 
perhaps more easily be found among errors other than slips of 
the tongue. In a third group the interpretation of the inter- 
fering intention is energetically denied by the speaker. He not 
only denies that the interfering tendency was active in him 
before the slip, but he wants to assert that it was at all times 
completely alien to him. Will you recall the example of "hic- 
cough," and the absolutely impolite disavowal which I received 
at the hands of this speaker by my disclosure of the interfering 
intention. You know that so far we have no unity in our 
conception of these cases. I pay no attention to the toastmaster 's 
disavowal and hold fast to my interpretation ; while you, I am 
sure, are yet under the influence of his repudiation and are 
considering whether one ought not to forego the interpretation 
of such slips, and let them pass as purely physiological acts, 
incapable of further analysis. I can imagine what it is that 
frightens you off. My interpretation draws the conclusion that 

46 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

intentions of which he himself knows nothing may manifest them- 
selves in a speaker, and that I can deduce them from the circum- 
stances. You hesitate before so novel a conclusion and one so full 
of consequences. I understand that, and sympathize with you 
to that extent. But let us make one thing clear: if you want 
consistently to carry through the conception of errors which 
you have derived from so many examples, you must decide to 
accept the above conclusion, even though it be unpleasant. If 
you cannot do so, you must give up that understanding of errors 
which you have so recently won. 

Let us tarry a while over the point which unites the three 
groups, which is common to the three mechanisms of tongue 
slips. Fortunately, that is unmistakable. In the first two groups 
the interfering tendency is recognized by the speaker; in the 
first there is the additional fact that it showed itself immediately 
before the slip. In both cases, however, it was suppressed. The 
speaker had made up his mind not to convert the interfering 
tendency into speech and then the slip of the tongue occurred; 
that is to say, the suppressed tendency obtains expression against 
the speaker's will, in that it changes the expression of the in- 
tention which he permits, mixes itself with it or actually puts 
itself in its place. This is, then the mechanism of the tongue 

From my point of view, I can also best harmonize the processes 
of the third group with the mechanism here described. I need 
only assume that these three groups are differentiated by the 
different degrees of effectiveness attending the suppression of 
an intention. In the first group, the intention is present and 
makes itself perceptible before the utterance of the speaker; 
not until then does it suffer the suppression for which it in- 
demnifies itself in the slip. In the second group the suppression 
extends farther. The intention is no longer perceptible before 
the subject speaks. It is remarkable that the interfering inten- 
tion is in no way deterred by this from taking part in the 
causation of the slip. Through this fact, however, the explana- 
tion of the procedure in the third group is simplified for us. 
I shall be so bold as to assume that in the error a tendency can 
manifest itself which has been suppressed for even a longer time, 
perhaps a very long time, which does not become perceptible and 
which, therefore, cannot be directly denied by the speaker. But 

The Psychology of Errors 47 

leave the problem of the third group; from the observation of 
the other cases, you must draw the conclusion that the suppres- 
sion of the existing intention to say something is the indis- 
pensable condition of the occurrence of a slip. 

We may now claim that we have made further progress in 
understanding errors. We know not only that they are psychic 
acts, in which we can recognize meaning and purpose, and that 
they arise through the mutual interference of two different in- 
tentions, but, in addition, we know that one of these intentions 
must have undergone a certain suppression in order to be able 
to manifest itself through interference with the other. The inter- 
fering intention must itself first be interfered with before it can 
become interfering. Naturally, a complete explanation of the 
phenomena which we call errors is not attained to by this. We 
immediately see further questions arising, and suspect in general 
that there will be more occasions for new questions as we progress 
further. We might, for example, ask why the matter does not 
proceed much more simply. If there is an existing purpose to 
suppress a certain tendency instead of giving it expression, then 
this suppression should be so successful that nothing at all of 
the latter comes to light; or it could even fail, so that the 
suppressed tendency attains to full expression. But errors are 
compromise formations. They mean some success and some 
failure for each of the two purposes. The endangered intention 
is neither completely suppressed nor does it, without regard to 
individual cases, come through wholly intact. We can imagine 
that special conditions must be existent for the occurrence of 
such interference or compromise formations, but then we cannot 
even conjecture what sort they may be. Nor do I believe that 
we can uncover these unknown circumstances through further 
penetration into the study of errors. Kather will it be necessary 
thoroughly to examine other obscure fields of psychic life. Only 
the analogies which we there encounter can give us the courage 
to draw those assumptions which are requisite to a more funda- 
mental elucidation of errors. And one thing more. Even 
working with small signs, as we have constantly been in the 
habit of doing in this province, brings its dangers with it. There 
is a mental disease, combined paranoia, in which the utilization 
of such small signs is practiced without restriction, and I nat- 
urally would not wish to give it as my opinion that these con- 

48 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

elusions, built up on this basis, are correct throughout. We can 
be protected from such dangers only by the broad basis of our 
observations, by the repetition of similar impressions from the 
most varied fields of psychic life. 

We will therefore leave the analysis of errors here. But may 
I remind you of one thing more : keep in mind, as a prototype, 
the manner in which we have treated these phenomena. You can 
see from these examples what the purposes of our psychology 
are. We do not wish merely to describe the phenomena and to 
classify them, but to comprehend them as signs of a play of 
forces in the psychic, as expressions of tendencies striving to 
an end, tendencies which work together or against one another. 
We seek a dynamic conception of psychic phenomena. The 
perceived phenomena must, in our conception, give way to those 
strivings whose existence is only assumed. 

Hence we will not go deeper into the problem of errors, but 
we can still undertake an expedition through the length of this 
field, in which we will reencounter things familiar to us, and 
will come upon the tracks of some that are new. In so doing we 
will keep to the division which we made in the beginning of our 
study, of the three groups of tongue slips, with the related forms 
of pen slips, misreadings, mishearings, forgetfulness with its 
subdivisions according to the forgotten object (proper names, 
foreign words, projects, impressions), and the other faults of 
mistaking, mislaying and losing objects. Errors, in so far as 
they come into our consideration, are grouped in part with for- 
getfulness, in part with mistakes. 

We have already spoken in such detail of tongue slips, and 
yet there are still several points to be added. Linked with 
tongue slips are smaller effective phenomena which are hot en- 
tirely without interest. No one likes to make a slip of the 
tongue; often one fails to hear his own slip, though never that 
of another. Tongue slips are in a certain sense infectious ; it is 
not at all easy to discuss tongue slips without falling into slips 
of the tongue oneself. The most trifling forms of tongue slips 
are just the ones which have no particular illumination to throw 
on the hidden psychic processes, but are nevertheless not difficult 
to penetrate in their motivation. If, for example, anyone pro- 
nounces a long vowel as a short, in consequence of an inter- 
ference no matter how motivated, he will foi that reason soon 

The Psychology of Errors 49 

after lengthen a short vowel and commit a new slip in compensa- 
tion for the earlier one. The same thing occurs when one has 
pronounced a double vowel unclearly and hastily; for example, 
an "eu" or an "oi" as "ei." The speaker tries to correct it 
by changing a subsequent "ei" or "eu" to "oi." In this con- 
duct the determining factor seems to be a certain consideration 
for the hearer, who is not to think that it is immaterial to the 
speaker how he treats his mother tongue. The second, compen- 
sating distortion actually has the purpose of making the hearer 
conscious of the first, and of assuring him that it also did not 
escape the speaker. The most frequent and most trifling cases 
of slips consist in the contractions and f oresoundings which show 
themselves in inconspicuous parts of speech. One's tongue slips 
in a longer speech to such an extent that the last word of the 
intended speech is said too soon. That gives the impression oif 
a certain impatience to be finished with the sentence and gives 
proof in general of a certain resistance to communicating this 
sentence or speech as a whole. Thus we come to borderline cases 
in which the differences between the psychoanalytic and the 
common physiological conception of tongue slips are blended. 
We assume that in these cases there is a tendency which inter- 
feres with the intention of the speech. But it can only announce 
that it is present, and not what its own intention is. The inter- 
ference which it occasions then follows some sound influences 
or associative relationship, and may be considered as a distrac- 
tion of attention from the intended speech. But neither this 
disturbance of attention nor the associative tendency which has 
been activated, strikes the essence of the process. This hints, 
however, at the existence of an intention which interferes with 
the purposed speech, an intention whose nature cannot (as is 
possible in all the more pronounced cases of tongue slips) this 
time be guessed from its effects. 

Slips of the pen, to which I now turn, are in agreement with 
those of the tongue to the extent that we need expect to gain 
no new points of view from them. Perhaps we will be content 
with a small gleaning. Those very common little slips of the 
pen contractions, anticipations of later words, particularly of 
the last words again point to a general distaste for writing, and 
to an impatience to be done ; the pronounced effects of pen slips 
permit the nature and purpose of the interfering tendency to 

50 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

be recognized. One knows in general that if one finds a slip of 
the pen in a letter everything was not as usual with the writer. 
"What was the matter one cannot always establish. The pen slip 
is frequently as little noticed by the person who makes it as 
the tongue slip. The following observation is striking: There 
are some persons who have the habit of always rereading a 
letter they have written before sending it. Others do not do so. 
But if the latter make an exception and reread the letter, they 
always have the opportunity of finding and correcting a con- 
spicuous pen slip. How can that be explained ? This looks as if 
these persons knew that they had made a slip of the pen while 
writing the letter. Shall we really believe that such is the case ? 
There is an interesting problem linked with the practical 
significance of the pen slip. You may recall the case of the 
murderer H., who made a practice of obtaining cultures of the 
most dangerous disease germs from scientific institutions, by 
pretending to be a bacteriologist, and who used these cultures 
to get his close relatives out of the way in this most modern 
fashion. This man once complained to the authorities of such 
an institution about the ineffectiveness of the culture which had 
been sent to him, but committed a pen slip and instead of the 
words, ''in my attempts on mice and guinea pigs," was plainly 
written, "in my attempts on people."* This slip even attracted 
the attention of the doctors at the institution, but so far as I 
know, they drew no conclusion from it. Now what do you 
think? Might not the doctors better have accepted the slip as 
a confession and instituted an investigation through which the 
murderer's handiwork would have been blocked in time? In 
this case was not ignorance of our conception of errors to blame 
for an omission of practical importance? Well, I am inclined 
to think that such a slip would surely seem very suspicious to 
me, but a fact of great importance stands in the way of its 
utilization as a confession. The thing is not so simple. The 
pen slip is surely an indication, but by itself it would not have 
been sufficient to instigate an investigation. That the man is 
preoccupied with the thought of infecting human beings, the 
slip certainly does betray, but it does not make it possible to 
decide whether this thought has the value of a clear plan of 

4 The German reads, ' ' bei meinen Versuchen an. Mausen, ' ' which, through 
the slip of the pen, resulted in ' ' bei meinen Versuchen an Menschen. ' ' 

The Psychology of Errors 51 

injury or merely of a phantasy having no practical consequence. 
It is even possible that the person who made such a slip will 
deny this phantasy with the best subjective justification and 
will reject it as something entirely alien to him. Later, when we 
give our attention to the difference between psychic and material 
reality, you will understand these possibilities even better. Yet 
this is again a case in which an error later attained unsuspected 

In misreading, we encounter a psychic situation which is 
clearly differentiated from that of the tongue slips or pen slips. 
The one of the two rival tendencies is here replaced by a sensory 
stimulus and perhaps for that reason is less resistant. What one 
is reading is not a production of one's own psychic activity, as 
is something which one intends to write. In a large majority 
of cases, therefore, the misreading consists in a complete sub- 
stitution. One substitutes another word for the word to be 
read, and there need be no connection in meaning between the 
text and the product of the misreading. In general, the slip 
is based upon a word resemblance. Lichtenberg 's example of 
reading "Agamemnon" for "angenommen" 5 is the best of this 
group. If one wishes to discover the interfering tendency which 
causes the misreading, one may completely ignore the misread 
text and can begin the analytic investigation with the two ques- 
tions: "What is the first idea that occurs in free association to 
the product of the misreading, and, in what situation did the 
misreading occur? Now and then a knowledge of the latter 
suffices by itself to explain the misreading. Take, for example, 
the individual who, distressed by certain needs, wanders about 
in a strange city and reads the word "Closethaus" on a large 
sign on the first floor of a house. He has just time to be sur- 
prised at the fact that the sign has been nailed so high up when 
he discovers that, accurately observed, the sign reads "Corset- 
haus." In other cases the misreadings which are independent of 
the text require a penetrating analysis which cannot be accom- 
plished without practice and confidence in the psychoanalytic 
technique. But generally it is not a matter of much difficulty 
to obtain the elucidation of a misreading. The substituted word, 
as in the example, "Agamemnon," betrays without more ado 
the thought sequence from which the interference results. In 

1 ' ' Angenommen " is a verb, meaning ' ' to accept. ' ' 

52 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

war times, for instance, it is very common for one to read into 
everything which contains a similar word structure, the names 
of the cities, generals and military expressions which are con- 
stantly buzzing around us. In this way, whatever interests and 
preoccupies one puts itself in the place of that which is foreign 
or uninteresting. The after-effects of thoughts blur the new 

There are other types of misreadings, in which the text itself 
arouses the disturbing tendency, by means of which it is then 
most often changed into its opposite. One reads something 
which is undesired ; analysis then convinces one that an intensive 
wish to reject what has been read should be made responsible 
for the alteration. 

In the first mentioned and more frequent cases of misreading, 
two factors are neglected to which we gave an important role 
in the mechanism of errors: the conflict of two tendencies and 
the suppression of one which then indemnifies itself by pro- 
ducing the error. Not that anything like the opposite occurs in 
misreading, but the importunity of the idea content which leads 
to misreading is nevertheless much more conspicuous than the 
suppression to which the latter may previously have been sub- 
jected. Just these two factors are most tangibly apparent in 
the various situations of errors of forgetfulness. 

Forgetting plans is actually uniform in meaning ; its interpre- 
tation is, as we have heard, not denied even by the layman. The 
tendency interfering with the plan is always an antithetical 
intention, an unwillingness concerning which we need only dis- 
cover why it does not come to expression in a different and less 
disguised manner. But the existence of this unwillingness is not 
to be doubted. Sometimes it is possible even to guess something 
of the motives which make it necessary for this unwillingness to 
disguise itself, and it always achieves its purpose by the error 
resulting ' from the concealment, while its rejection would be 
certain were it to present itself as open contradiction. If an 
important change in the psychic situation occurs between the 
formulation of the plan and its execution, in consequence of 
which the execution of the plan does not come into question, 
then the fact that the plan was forgotten is no longer in the 
class of errors. One is no longer surprised at it, and one under- 
stands that it would have been superfluous to have remembered 

The Psychology of Errors 53 

the plan ; it was then permanently or temporarily effaced. For- 
getting a plan can be called an error only when we have no 
reason to believe there was such an interruption. 

The cases of forgetting plans are in general so uniform and 
transparent that they do not interest us in our investigation. 
There are two points, however, from which we can learn some- 
thing new. We have said that forgetting, that is, the non- 
execution of a plan, points to an antipathy toward it. This 
certainly holds, but, according to the results of our investiga- 
tions, the antipathy may be of two sorts, direct and indirect. 
What is meant by the latter can best be explained by one or 
two examples. If a patron forgets to say a good word for his 
protege to a third person, it may be because the patron is not 
really very much interested in the protege, therefore, has no 
great inclination to commend him. It is, at any rate, in this 
sense that the protege will construe his patron's forgetfulness. 
But the matter may be more complicated. The patron's antipathy 
to the execution of the plan may originate in another quarter 
and fasten upon quite a different point. It need not have any- 
thing to do with the protege, but may be directed toward the 
third person to whom the good word was to have been said. 
Thus, you see what doubts here confront the practical applica- 
tion of our interpretation. The protege, despite a correct inter- 
pretation of the forgetfulness, stands in danger of becoming too 
suspicious, and of doing his patron a grave injustice. Or, if an 
individual forgets a rendezvous which he has made, and which 
he had resolved to keep, the most frequent basis will certainly 
be the direct aversion to encountering this person. But analysis 
might here supply the information that the interfering intention 
was not directed against that person, but against the place in 
which they were to have met, and which was avoided because of 
a painful memory associated with it. Or, if one forgets to mail 
a letter, the counter-intention may be directed against the con- 
tent of that letter, yet this does not in any way exclude the pos- 
sibility that the letter is harmless in itself, and only subject to 
the counter-intention because something about it reminds the 
writer of another letter written previously, which, in fact, did 
afford a basis for the antipathy. One can say in such a case that 
the antipathy has here transferred itself from that former letter 
where it was justified to the present one in which it really has 

54 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

no meaning. Thus you see that one must always exercise re- 
straint and caution in the application of interpretations, even 
though the interpretations are justified. That which is psycho- 
logically equivalent may nevertheless in practice be very am- 

Phenomena such as these will seem very unusual to you. 
Perhaps you are inclined to assume that the "indirect" an- 
tipathy is enough to characterize the incident as pathological. 
Yet I can assure you that it also occurs in a normal and healthy 
setting. I am in no way willing to admit the unreliability of 
our analytic interpretation. After all, the above-discussed 
ambiguity of plan-forgetting exists only so long as we have not 
attempted an analysis of the case, and are interpreting it only 
on the basis of our general suppositions. When we analyze the 
person in question, we discover with sufficient certainty in each 
case whether or not it is a direct antipathy, or what its origin 
is otherwise. 

A second point is the following: when we find in a large 
majority of cases that the forgetting of a plan goes back to an 
antipathy, we gain courage to extend this solution to another 
series of cases in which the analyzed person does not confirm, 
but denies, the antipathy which we inferred. Take as an ex- 
ample the exceedingly frequent incidents of forgetting to return 
books which one has borrowed, or forgetting to pay one's bills 
or debts. We will be so bold as to accuse the individual in 
question of intending to keep the books and not to pay the 
debts, while he will deny such an intention but will not be in 
a position to give us any other explanation of his conduct. 
Thereupon we insist that he has the intention, only he knows 
nothing about it; all we need for our inference is to have the 
intention betray itself through the effect of the forgetfulness. 
The subject may then repeat that he had merely forgotten it. 
You now recognize the situation as one in which we once before 
found ourselves. If we wish to be consistent in our interpreta- 
tion, an interpretation which has been proved as manifold as 
it is justified, we will be unavoidably forced to the conclusion 
that there are tendencies in a human being which can become 
effective without his being conscious of them. By so doing, 
however, we place ourselves in opposition to all the views which 
prevail in daily life and in psychology. 

The Psychology of Errors 55 

Forgetting proper names and foreign names as well as foreign 
words can be traced in the same manner to a counter-intention 
which aims either directly or indirectly at the name in question. 
I have already given you an example of such direct antipathy. 
The indirect causation, however, is particularly frequent and 
generally necessitates careful analysis for its determination. 
Thus, for example, in war times which force us to sacrifice so 
many of our former inclinations, the ability to recall proper 
names also suffers severely in consequence of the most peculiar 
connections. A short time ago it happened that I could not 
reproduce the name of that harmless Moravian city of Bisenz, 
and analysis showed that no direct dislike was to blame, but 
rather the sound resemblance to the name of the Bisenzi palace 
in Orrieto, in which I used to wish I might live. As a motive for 
the antagonism to remembering the name, we here encounter 
for the first time a principle which will later disclose to us its 
whole tremendous significance in the causation of neurotic symp- 
toms, viz., the aversion on the part of the memory to remember- 
ing anything which is connected with unpleasant experience 
and which would revive this unpleasantness by a reproduction. 
This intention of avoiding unpleasantness in recollections of 
other psychic acts, the psychic flight from unpleasantness, we 
may recognize as the ultimate effective motive not only for the 
forgetting of names, but also for many other errors, such as 
omissions of action, etc. 

Forgetting names does, however, seem to be especially facili- 
tated psycho-physiologically and therefore also occurs in cases 
in which the interference of an unpleasantness-motive cannot be 
established. If anyone once has a tendency to forget names, 
you can establish by analytical investigation that he not only 
loses names because he himself does not like them, or because 
they remind him of something he does not like, but also because 
the same name in his mind belongs to another chain of associa- 
tions, with which he has more intimate relations. The name is 
anchored there, as it were, and denied to the other associations 
activated at the moment. If you will recall the tricks of 
mnemonic technique you will ascertain with some surprise that 
one forgets names in consequence of the same associations which 
one otherwise purposely forms in order to save them from being 
forgotten. The most conspicuous example of this is afforded by 

56 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

proper names of persons, which conceivably enough must have 
very different psychic values for different people. For example, 
take a first name, such as Theodore. To one of you it will mean 
nothing special, to another it means the name of his father, 
brother, friend, or his own name. Analytic experience will then 
show you that the first person is not in danger of forgetting that 
a certain stranger bears this name, while the latter will be con- 
stantly inclined to withhold from the stranger this name which 
seems reserved for intimate relationships. Let us now assume 
that this associative inhibition can come into contact with the 
operation of the unpleasantness-principle, and in addition with 
an indirect mechanism, and you will be in a position to form 
a correct picture of the complexity of causation of this tem- 
porary name-forgetting. An adequate analysis that does justice 
to the facts, however, will completely disclose these complications. 

Forgetting impressions and experiences shows the working of 
the tendency to keep unpleasantness from recollection much more 
clearly and conclusively than does the forgetting of names. It 
does not, of course, belong in its entirety to the category of 
errors, but only in so far as it seems to us conspicuous and 
unjustified, measured by the measuring stick of our accustomed 
conception thus, for example, where the forgetfulness strikes 
fresh or important impressions or impressions whose loss tears 
a hole in the otherwise well-remembered sequence. Why and how 
it is in general that we forget, particularly why and how we 
forget experiences which have surely left the deepest impressions, 
such as the incidents of our first years of childhood, is quite a 
different problem, in which the defense against unpleasant 
associations plays a certain role but is far from explaining every- 
thing. That unpleasant impressions are easily forgotten is an 
indubitable fact. Various psychologists have observed it, and 
the great Darwin was so struck by it that he made the "golden 
rule" for himself of writing down with particular care ob- 
servations which seemed unfavorable to his theory, since he had 
convinced himself that they were just the ones which would not 
stick in his memory. 

Those who hear for the first time of this principle of defense 
against unpleasant recollections by means of forgetting, seldom 
fail to raise the objection that they, on the contrary, have had 
the experience that just the painful is hard to forget, inasmuch 

The Psychology of Errors 57 

as it always comes back to mind to torture the person against 
his will as, for example, the recollection of an insult or humilia- 
tion. This fact is also correct, but the objection is not valid. 
It is important that one begin betimes to reckon with the fact 
that the psychic life is the arena of the struggles and exercises 
of antagonistic tendencies, or, to express it in non-dynamic ter- 
minology, that it consists of contradictions and paired antag- 
onisms. Information concerning one specific tendency is of no 
avail for the exclusion of its opposite ; there is room for both of 
them. It depends only on how the opposites react upon each 
other, what effects will proceed from the one and what from the 

Losing and mislaying objects is of especial interest to us 
because of the ambiguity and the multiplicity of tendencies in 
whose services the errors may act. The common element in all 
cases is this, that one wished to lose something. The reasons 
and purposes thereof vary. One loses an object when it has 
become damaged, when one intends to replace it with a better 
one, when one has ceased to like it, when it came from a person 
whose relations to one have become strained, or when it was 
obtained under circumstuices of which one no longer wishes to 
think. The same purpose may be served by letting the object 
fall, be damaged or broken. In the life of society it is said to 
have been found that unwelcome and illegitimate children are 
much more often frail than those born in wedlock. To reach 
this result we do not need the coarse technique of the so-called 
angel-maker. A certain remissness in the care of the child is 
said to suffice amply. In the preservation of objects, the case 
might easily be the same as with the children. 

But things may be singled out for loss without their having 
forfeited any of their value, namely, when there exists the in- 
tention to sacrifice something to fate in order to ward off some 
other dreaded loss. Such exorcisings of fate are, according to 
the findings of analysis, still very frequent among us ; therefore, 
the loss of things is often a voluntary sacrifice. In the same 
way losing may serve the purposes of obstinacy or self -punish- 
ment. In short, the more distant motivation of the tendency to 
get rid of a thing oneself by means of losing it is not overlooked. 

Mistakes, like other errors, are often used to fulfill wishes 
which one ought to deny oneself. The purpose is thus masked 

58 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

as fortunate accident; for instance, one of our friends once 
took the train to make a call in the suburbs, despite the clearest 
antipathy to so doing, and then, in changing cars, made the 
mistake of getting into the train which took him back to the 
city. Or, if on a trip one absolutely wants to make a longer stay 
at a half-way station, one is apt to overlook or miss certain 
connections, so that he is forced to make the desired interruption 
to the trip. Or, as once happened to a patient of mine whom 
I had forbidden to call up his fiancee on the telephone, "by 
mistake" and "absent-mindedly" he asked for a wrong number 
when he wanted to telephone to me, so that he was suddenly 
connected with the lady. A pretty example and one of practical 
significance in making a direct mistake is the observation of an 
engineer at a preliminary hearing in a damage suit : 

' ' Some time ago I worked with several colleagues in the labora- 
tory of a high school on a series of complicated elasticity experi- 
ments, a piece of work which we had undertaken voluntarily 
but which began to take more time than we had expected. One 
day as I went into the laboratory with my colleague F., the latter 
remarked how unpleasant it was to him to lose so much time 
that day, since he had so much to do at home. I could not 
help agreeing with him, and remarked half jokingly, alluding to 
an incident of the previous week: 'Let's hope that the machine 
gives out again so that we can stop work and go home early.' 

"In the division of labor it happened that F. was given the 
regulation of the valve of the press, that is to say, he was, by 
means of a cautious opening of the valve, to let the liquid 
pressure from the accumulator flow slowly into the cylinder of 
the hydraulic press. The man who was directing the job stood 
by the manometer (pressure gauge) and when the right pressure 
had been reached called out in a loud voice: 'Stop.' At this 
command F. seized the valve and turned with all his might 
to the left! (All valves, without exception, close to the right.) 
Thereby the whole pressure of the accumulator suddenly became 
effective in the press, a strain for which the connecting pipes 
are not designed, so that a connecting pipe immediately burst 
quite a harmless defect, but one which nevertheless forced us to 
drop work for the day and go home. 

"It is characteristic, by the way, that some time afterward 
when we were discussing this occurrence, my friend F. had no 

The Psychology of Errors 59 

recollection whatever of my remark, which I could recall with 
certainty. ' ' 

From this point you may reach the conjecture that it is not 
harmless accident which makes the hands of your domestics 
such dangerous enemies to your household property. But you 
can also raise the question whether it is always an accident when 
one damages himself and exposes his own person to danger. 
Thero are interests the value of which you will presently be able 
to test by means of the analysis of observations. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is far from being all that might be 
said about errors. There is indeed much left to investigate and 
to discuss. But I am satisfied if, from our investigations to date, 
your previous views are somewhat shaken and if you have 
acquired a certain degree of liberality in the acceptance of new 
ones. For the rest, I must content myself with leaving you 
face to face with an unclear condition of affairs. "We cannot 
prove all our axioms by the study of errors and, indeed, are 
by no means solely dependent on this material. The great value 
of errors for our purpose lies in the fact that they are very 
frequent phenomena that can easily be observed on oneself and 
the occurrence of which do not require a pathological condition. 
I should like to mention just one more of your unanswered 
questions before concluding.: "If, as we have seen in many 
examples, people come so close to understanding errors and so 
often act as though they penetrated their meaning, how is it 
possible that they can so generally consider them accidental, 
senseless and meaningless, and can so energetically oppose their 
psychoanalytic elucidation ? ' ' 

You are right; that is conspicuous and demands an explana- 
tion. I shall not give this explanation to you, however, but shall 
guide you slowly to the connecting links from which the explana- 
tion will force itself upon you without any aid from me. 





Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 

ONE day the discovery was made that the disease symp- 
toms of certain nervous patients have a meaning. 1 
Thereupon the psychoanalytic method of therapy was 
founded. In this treatment it happened that the 
patients also presented dreams in place of their symptoms. 
Herewith originated the conjecture that these dreams also have 
a meaning. 

"We will not, however, pursue this historical path, but enter 
upon the opposite one. We wish to discover the meaning of 
dreams as preparation for the study of the neuroses. This 
inversion is justified, for the study of dreams is not only the 
best preparation for that of the neuroses, but the dream itself 
is also a neurotic symptom, and in fact one which possesses for 
us the incalculable advantage of occurring in all normals. In- 
deed, if all human beings were well and would dream, we could 
gain from their dreams almost all the insight to which the study 
of the neuroses has led. 

Thus it is that the dream becomes the object of psychoanalytic 
research again an ordinary, little-considered phenomenon, ap- 
parently of no practical value, like the errors with which, indeed, 
it shares the character of occurring in normals. But otherwise 
the conditions are rather less favorable for our work. Errors 
had been neglected only by science, which had paid little atten- 
tion to them ; but at least it was no disgrace to occupy one 's self 
with them. People said there are indeed more important things, 
but perhaps something may come of it. Preoccupation with the 
dream, however, is not merely impractical and superfluous, but 
actually ignominious; it carries the odium of the unscientific, 
awakens the suspicion of a personal leaning towards mysticism. 
The idea of a physician busying himself with dreams when even 
in neuropathology and psychiatry there are matters so much 

1 Josef Breuer, in the years 1880-1882. Cf. also my lectures on psycho- 
analysis, delivered in the United States in 1909. 


64 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

more serious tumors the size of apples which incapacitate the 
organ of the psyche, hemorrhages, and chronic inflammations 
in which one can demonstrate changes in the tissues under the 
microscope! No, the dream is much too trifling an object, and 
unworthy of Science. 

And besides, it is a condition which in itself defies all the 
requirements of exact research in dream investigation one is 
not even sure of one's object. A delusion, for example, presents 
itself in clear and definite outlines. "I am the Emperor of 
China," says the patient aloud. But the dream? It generally 
cannot be related at all. If anyone relates a dream, has he any 
guarantee that he has told it correctly, and not changed it dur- 
ing the telling, or invented an addition which was forced by the 
indefiniteness of his recollection? Most dreams cannot be re- 
membered at all, are forgotten except "for small fragments. And 
upon the interpretation of such material shall a scientific psy- 
chology or method of treatment for patients be based ? 

A certain excess in judgment may make us suspicious. The 
objections to the dream as an object of research obviously go 
too far. The question of insignificance we have already had to 
deal with in discussing errors. "We said to ourselves that im- 
portant matters may manifest themselves through small signs. 
As concerns the indefiniteness of the dream, it is after all a 
characteristic like any other. One cannot prescribe the char- 
acteristics of an object. Moreover, there are clear and definite 
dreams. And there are other objects of psychiatric research 
which suffer from the same trait of indefiniteness, e.g., many 
compulsion ideas, with which even respectable and esteemed 
psychiatrists have occupied themselves. I might recall the last 
case which occurred in my practice. The patient introduced 
himself to me with the words, ' ' I have a certain feeling as though 
I had harmed or had wished to harm some living thing a child ? 
no, more probably a dog perhaps pushed it off a bridge or 
something else. ' ' We can overcome to some degree the difficulty 
of uncertain recollection in the dream if we determine that 
exactly what the dreamer tells us is to be taken as his dream, 
without regard to anything which he has forgotten or may have 
changed in recollection. And finally, one cannot make so general 
an assertion as that the dream is an unimportant thing. We 
know from our own experience that the mood in which one wakes 

Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 65 

up after a dream may continue throughout the whole day. 
Cases have been observed by physicians in which a psychosis 
begins with a dream and holds to a delusion which originated 
in it. It is related of historical personages that they drew their 
inspiration for important deeds from dreams. So we may ask 
whence comes the contempt of scientific circles for the dream ? 

I think it is the reaction to their over-estimation in former 
times. Reconstruction of the past is notoriously difficult, but 
this much we may assume with certainty if you will permit 
me the jest that our ancestors of 3000 years ago and more, 
dreamed much in the way we do. As far as we know, all ancient 
peoples attached great importance to dreams and considered 
them of practical value. They drew omens for the future from 
dreams, sought premonitions in them. In those days, to the 
Greeks and all Orientals, a campaign without dream interpreters 
must have been as impossible as a campaign without an aviation 
scout to-day. When Alexander the Great undertook his cam- 
paign of conquests, the most famous dream interpreters were in 
attendance. The city of Tyrus, which was then still situated 
on an island, put up so fierce a resistance that Alexander con- 
sidered the idea of raising the siege. Then he dreamed one night 
of a satyr dancing as if in triumph; and when he laid his 
dream before his interpreters he received the information that 
the victory over the city had been announced to him. He or- 
dered the attack and took Tyrus. Among the Etruscans and 
the Romans other methods of discovering the future were in 
use, but the interpretation of dreams was practical and esteemed 
during the entire Hellenic-Koman period. Of the literature 
dealing with the topic at least the chief work has been preserved 
to us, namely, the book of Artemidoros of Daldis, who is sup- 
posed to have lived during the lifetime of the Emperor Hadrian. 
How it happened subsequently that the art of dream interpre- 
tation was lost and the dream fell into discredit, I cannot tell 
you. Enlightenment cannot have had much part in it, for the 
Dark Ages faithfully perserved things far more absurd than the 
ancient dream interpretation. The fact is, the interest in dreams 
gradually deteriorated into superstition, and could assert itself 
only among the ignorant. The latest misuse of dream interpre- 
tation in our day still tries to discover in dreams the numbers 
which are going to be drawn in the small lottery. On the other 

66 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

hand, the exact science of to-day has repeatedly dealt with 
dreams, but always only with the purpose of applying its 
physiological theories to the dream. By physicians, of course, 
the dream was considered as a non-psychic act, as the mani- 
festation of somatic irritations in the psychic life. Binz (1876) 
pronounced the dream "a bodily process, in all cases useless, in 
many actually pathological, above which the world-soul and 
immortality are raised as high as the blue ether over the weed- 
grown sands of the lowest plain." Maury compared it with 
the irregular twitchings of St. Vitus' Dance in contrast to the 
co-ordinated movements of the normal person. An old com- 
parison makes the content of the dream analogous to the tones 
which the "ten fingers of a musically illiterate person would 
bring forth if they ran over the keys of the instrument. ' ' 

Interpretation means finding a hidden meaning. There- can 
be no question of interpretation in such an estimation of the 
dream process. Look up the description of the dream in Wundt, 
Jodl and other newer philosophers. You will find an enumera- 
tion of the deviations of dream life from waking thought, in a 
sense disparaging to the dream. The description points out the 
disintegration of association, the suspension of the critical 
faculty, the elimination of all knowledge, and other signs of 
diminished activity. The only valuable contribution to the 
knowledge of the dream which we owe to exact science pertains 
to the influence of bodily stimuli, operative during sleep, on 
the content of the dream. There are two thick volumes of 
experimental researches on dreams by the recently deceased Nor- 
wegian author, J. Hourly Void, (translated into German in 1910 
and 1912), which deal almost solely with the consequences of 
changes in the position of the limbs. They are recommended 
as the prototype of exact dream research. Now can you imagine 
what exact science would say if it discovered that we wish to 
attempt to find the meaning of dreams? It may be it has al- 
ready said it, but we will not allow ourselves to be frightened off. 
If errors can have a meaning, the dream can, too, and errors 
in many cases have a meaning which has escaped exact science. 
Let us confess to sharing the prejudice of the ancients and the 
common people, and let us follow in the footsteps of the ancient 
dream interpreters. 

First of all, we must orient ourselves in our task, and take a 

Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 67 

bird's eye view of our field. What is a dream? It is difficult 
to say in one sentence. But we do not want to attempt any 
definition where a reference to the material with which everyone 
is familiar suffices. Yet we ought to select the essential element 
of the dream. How can that be found? There are such 
monstrous differences within the boundary which encloses our 
province, differences in every direction. The essential thing will 
very probably be that which we can show to be common to all 

Well, the first thing which is common to all dreams is that 
we are asleep during their occurrence. The dream is apparently 
the psychic life during sleep, which has certain resemblances 
to that of the waking condition, and on the other hand is dis- 
tinguished from it by important differences. That was noted 
even in Aristotle's definition. Perhaps there are other connec- 
tions obtaining between the dream and sleep. One can be 
awakened by a dream, one frequently has a dream when he 
wakes spontaneously or is forcibly awakened from sleep. The 
dream then seems to be an intermediate condition between sleep- 
ing and waking. Thus we are referred to the problem of sleep. 
What, then, is sleep ? 

That is a physiological or biological problem concerning which 
there is still much controversy. We can form no decision on 
the point, but I think we may attempt a psychological charac- 
terization of sleep. Sleep is a condition in which I wish to have 
nothing to do with the external world, and have withdrawn my 
interest from it. I put myself to sleep by withdrawing myself 
from the external world and by holding off its stimuli. I also 
go to sleep when I am fatigued by the external world. Thus, 
by going to sleep, I say to the external world, "Leave me in 
peace, for I wish to sleep. ' ' Conversely, the child says, ' ' I won 't 
go to bed yet, I am not tired, I want to have some more fun." 
The biological intention of sleep thus seems to be recuperation ; 
its psychological character, the suspension of interest in the 
external world. Our relation to the world into which we came 
so unwillingly, seems to include the fact that we cannot endure 
it without interruption. For this reason we revert from time 
to time to the pre-natal existence, that is, to the intra-uterine 
existence. At least we create for ourselves conditions quite simi- 
lar to those obtaining at that time warmth, darkness and the 

68 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

absence of stimuli. Some of us even roll ourselves into tight 
packages and assume in sleep a posture very similar to the intra- 
uterine posture. It seems as if the world did not wholly possess 
us adults, it has only two-thirds of our life, we are still one-third 
unborn. Each awakening in the morning is then like a new 
birth. We also speak of the condition after sleep with the words, 
"I feel as though I had been born anew," by which we probably 
form a very erroneous idea of the general feeling of the newly 
born. It may be assumed that the latter, on the contrary, feel 
very uncomfortable. "We also speak of birth as "seeing the light 
of day." If that be sleep, then the dream is not on its program 
at all, rather it seems an unwelcome addition. We think, too, 
that dreamless sleep is the best and only normal sleep. There 
should be no psychic activity in sleep ; if the psyche stirs, then 
just to that extent have we failed to reduplicate the foetal con- 
dition; remainders of psychic activity could not be completely 
avoided. These remainders are the dream. Then it really does 
seem that the dream need have no meaning. It was different in 
the case of errors ; they were activities of the waking state. But 
when I am asleep, have quite suspended psychic activity and 
have suppressed all but certain of its remainders, then it is by 
no means inevitable that these remainders have a meaning. In 
fact, I cannot make use of this meaning, in view of the fact that 
the rest of my psyche is asleep. This must, of course, be a 
question only of twitching, like spasmodic reactions, a question 
only of psychic phenomena such as follow directly upon somatic 
stimulation. The dream, therefore, appears to be the sleep-dis- 
turbing remnant of the psychic activity of waking life, and we 
may make the resolution promptly to abandon a theme which is 
so ill-adapted to psychoanalysis. 

However, even if the dream is superfluous, it exists never- 
theless and we may try to give an account of its existence. 
Why does not the psyche go to sleep? Probably because there 
is something which gives it no rest. Stimuli act upon the psyche, 
and it must react to them. The dream, therefore, is the way 
in which the psycne reacts to the stimuli acting upon it in the 
sleeping condition. We note here a point of approach to the 
understanding of the dream. We can now search through differ- 
ent dreams to discover what are the stimuli which seek to 
disturb the sleep and which are reacted to with dreams. Thus 
far we might be said to have discovered the first common element. 

Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 69 

Are there other common elements ? Yes, it is undeniable that 
there are, but they are much more difficult to grasp and de- 
scribe. The psychic processes of sleep, for example, have a very 
different character from those of waking. One experiences many 
things in the dream, and believes in them, while one really has 
experienced nothing but perhaps the one disturbing stimulus. 
One experiences them predominantly in visual images; feelings 
may also be interspersed in the dream as well as thoughts ; the 
other senses may also have experiences, but after all the dream 
experiences are predominantly pictures. A part of the difficulty 
of dream telling comes from the fact that we have to transpose 
these pictures into words. ' ' I could draw it, ' ' the dreamer says 
frequently, "but I don't know how to say it." That is not 
really a case of diminished psychic activity, like that of the 
feeble-minded in comparison with the highly gifted ; it is some- 
thing qualitatively different, but it is difficult to say wherein the 
difference lies. G. T. Fechner once hazarded the conjecture that 
the scene in which dreams are played is a different one from 
that of the waking perceptual life. To be sure, we do not under- 
stand this, do not know what we are to think of it, but the im- 
pression of strangeness which most dreams make upon us does 
really bear this out. The comparison of the dream activity with 
the effects of a hand untrained in music also fails at this point. 
The piano, at least, will surely answer with the same tones, even 
if not with melodies, as soon as by accident one brushes its 
keys. Let us keep this second common element of all dreams 
carefully in mind, even though it be not understood. 

Are there still further traits in common? I find none, and 
see only differences everywhere, differences indeed in the appar- 
ent length as well as the definiteness of the activities, participa- 
tion of effects, durability, etc. All this really is not what we 
might expect of a compulsion-driven, irresistible, convulsive de- 
fense against a stimulus. As concerns the dimensions of dreams, 
there are very short ones which contain only one picture or a 
few, one thought yes, even one word only , others which are 
uncommonly rich in content, seem to dramatize whole novels and 
to last very long. There are dreams which are as plain as an 
experience itself, so plain that we do not recognize them as 
dreams for a long time after waking; others which are in- 
describably weak, shadowy and vague j indeed in one and the 

70 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

same dream, the overemphasized and the scarcely comprehensible, 
indefinite parts may alternate with each other. Dreams may be 
quite meaningful or at least coherent, yes, even witty, fantas- 
tically beautiful. Others, again, are confused, as if feeble- 
minded, absurd, often actually mad. There are dreams which 
leave us quite cold, others in which all the effects come to 
expression pain deep enough for tears, fear strong enough to 
waken us, astonishment, delight, etc. Dreams are generally 
quickly forgotten upon waking, or they may hold over a day to 
such an extent as to be faintly and incompletely remembered in 
the evening. Others, for example, the dreams of childhood, are 
so well preserved that they stay in the memory thirty years 
later, like fresh experiences. Dreams, like individuals, may 
appear a single time, and never again, or they may repeat them- 
selves unchanged in the same person, or with small variations. 
In short, this nightly psychic activity can avail itself of an 
enormous repertoire, can indeed compass everything which the 
psychic accomplishes by day, but yet the two are not the same. 

One might try to give an account of this many-sidedness of 
the dream by assuming that it corresponds to different inter- 
mediate stages between sleeping and waking, different degrees 
of incomplete sleep. Yes, but in that case as the psyche nears 
the waking state, the conviction that it is a dream ought to in- 
crease along with the value, content and distinctiveness of the 
dream product, and it would not happen that immediately be- 
side a distinct and sensible dream fragment a senseless and 
indistinct one would occur, to be followed again by a goodly 
piece of work. Surely the psyche could not change its degree 
of somnolence so quickly. This explanation thus avails us 
nothing ; at any rate, it cannot be accepted offhand. 

Let us, for the present, give up the idea of finding the 
meaning of the dream and try instead to clear a path to 
a better understanding of the dream by means of the elements 
common to all dreams. From the relation of dreams to the 
sleeping condition, we concluded that the dream is the reaction 
to a sleep-disturbing stimulus. As we have heard, this is the 
only point upon which exact experimental psychology can come 
to our assistance ; it gives us the information that stimuli applied 
during sleep appear in the dream. There have been many such 
investigations carried out, including that of the above mentioned 

Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 71 

Hourly Void. Indeed, each of us must at some time have been 
in a position to confirm this conclusion by means of occasional 
personal observations. I shall choose certain older experiments 
for presentation. Maury had such experiments made on his own 
person. He was allowed to smell cologne while dreaming. He 
dreamed that he was in Cairo in the shop of Johann Marina 
Farina, and therewith were linked further extravagant adven- 
tures. Or, he was slightly pinched in the nape of the neck; 
he dreamed of having a mustard plaster applied, and of a doctor 
who had treated him in childhood. Or, a drop of water was 
poured on his forehead. He was then in Italy, perspired pro- 
fusely, and drank the white wine of Orvieto. 

What strikes us about these experimentally induced dreams 
we may perhaps be able to comprehend still more clearly ia 
another series of stimulated dreams. Three dreams have beerj 
recounted by a witty observer, Hildebrand, all of them reactions 
to the sound of the alarm clock : 

"I go walking one spring morning and saunter through the 
green fields to a neighboring village. There I see the inhabitants 
in gala attire, their hymn books under their arms, going church- 
ward in great numbers. To be sure, this is Sunday, and the 
early morning service will soon begin. I decide to attend, but 
since I am somewhat overheated, decide to cool off in the cemetery 
surrounding the church. While I am there reading several in- 
scriptions, I hear the bell ringer ascend the tower, and now see 
the little village church bell which is to give the signal for the 
beginning of the service. The bell hangs a good bit longer, then 
it begins to swing, and suddenly its strokes sound clear and 
penetrating, so clear and penetrating that they make an end of 
my sleep. The bell-strokes, however, come from my alarm 

" A second combination. It is a clear winter day. The streets 
are piled high with snow. I agree to go on a sleighing party, 
but must wait a long time before the announcement comes that 
the sleigh is at the door. Then follow the preparations for 
getting in the fur coat is put on, the footwarmer dragged 
forth and finally I am seated in my place. But the departure 
is still delayed until the reins give the waiting horses the tangible 
signal. Now they pull ; the vigorously shaken bells begin their 
familiar Janizary music so powerfully that instantly the spider 

72 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

web of the dream is torn. Again it is nothing but the shrill tone 
of the alarm clock. 

"And still a third example. I see a kitchen maid walking 
along the corridor to the dining room with some dozens of 
plates piled high. The pillar of porcelain in her arms seems to 
me in danger of losing its balance. 'Take care!' I warn her. 
'The whole load will fall to the ground.' Naturally, the in- 
evitable retort follows : one is used to that, etc., and I still con- 
tinue to follow the passing figure with apprehensive glances. 
Sure enough, at the threshold she stumbles the brittle dishes 
fall and rattle and crash over the floor in a thousand pieces. 
But the endless racket is not, as I soon notice, a real rattling, 
but really a ringing and with this ringing, as the awakened sub- 
ject now realizes, the alarm has performed its duty." 

These dreams are very pretty, quite meaningful, not at all 
incoherent, as dreams usually are. We will not object to them 
on that score. That which is common to them all is that the 
situation terminates each time in a noise, which one recognizes 
upon waking up as the sound of the alarm. Thus we see here 
how a dream originates, but also discover something else. The 
dream does not recognize the alarm indeed the alarm does not 
appear in the dream the dream replaces the alarm sound with 
another, it interprets the stimulus which interrupts the sleep, 
but interprets it each time in a different way. Why? There is 
no answer to this question, it seems to be something arbitrary. 
But to understand the dream means to be able to say why it has 
chosen just this sound and no other for the interpretation of 
the alarm-clock stimulus. In quite analogous fashion, we must 
raise the objection to the Maury experiment that we see well 
enough that the stimulus appears in the dream, but that we do 
not discover why it appears in just this form ; and that the form 
taken by the dream does not seem to follow from the nature of 
the sleep-disturbing stimulus. Moreover, in the Maury experi- 
ments a mass of other dream material links itself to the direct 
stimulus product; as, for example, the extravagant adventures 
in the cologne dream, for which one can give no account. 

Now I shall ask you to consider the fact that the waking 
dreams offer by far the best chances for determining the influ- 
ence of external sleep-disturbing stimuli. In most of the other 
eases it will be more difficult. One does not wake up in all 

Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 73 

dreams, and in the morning, when one remembers the dream of 
the night, how can one discover the disturbing stimulus which 
was perhaps in operation at night? I did succeed once in sub- 
sequently establishing such a sound stimulus, though naturally- 
only in consequence of special circumstances. I woke up one 
morning in a place in the Tyrolese Mountains, with the certainty 
that I had dreamt the Pope had died. I could not explain the 
dream, but then my wife asked me : "Did you hear the terrible 
bell ringing that broke out early this morning from all the 
churches and chapels?" No, I had heard nothing, my sleep is 
a sound one, but thanks to this information I understood my 
dream. How often may such stimuli incite the sleeper to dream 
without his knowing of them afterward ? Perhaps often, perhaps 
infrequently; when the stimulus can no longer be traced, one 
cannot be convinced of its existence. Even without this fact we 
have given up evaluating the sleep disturbing stimuli, since we 
know that they can explain only a little bit of the dream, and 
not the whole dream reaction. 

But we need not give up this whole theory for that reason. 
In fact, it can be extended. It is clearly immaterial through 
what cause the sleep was disturbed and the psyche incited to 
dream. If the sensory stimulus is not always externally induced, 
it may be instead a stimulus proceeding from the internal organs, 
a so-called somatic stimulus. This conjecture is obvious, and it 
corresponds to the most popular conception of the origin of 
dreams. Dreams come from the stomach, one often hears it 
said. Unfortunately it may be assumed here again that the cases 
are frequent in which the somatic stimulus which operated dur- 
ing the night can no longer be traced after waking, and has 
thus become unverifiable. But let us not overlook the fact that 
many recognized experiences testify to the derivation of dreams 
from the somatic stimulus. It is in general indubitable that the 
condition of the internal organs can influence the dream. The 
relation of many a dream content to a distention of the bladder 
or to an excited condition of the genital organs, is so clear that 
it cannot be mistaken. From these transparent cases one can 
proceed to others in which, from the content of the dream, at 
least a justifiable conjecture may be made that such somatic 
stimuli have been operative, inasmuch as there is something in 
this content which may be conceived as elaboration, representa- 

74 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

tion, interpretation of the stimuli. The dream investigator 
Schirmer (1861) insisted with particular emphasis on the deriva- 
tion of the dream from organic stimuli, and cited several splen- 
did examples in proof. For example, in a dream he sees "two 
rows of beautiful boys with blonde hair and delicate complexions 
stand opposite each other in preparation for a fight, fall upon 
each other, seize each other, take up the old position again, and 
repeat the whole performance; here the interpretation of these 
rows of boys as teeth is plausible in itself, and it seems to become 
convincing when after this scene the dreamer "pulls a long 
tooth out of his jaws." The interpretation of "long, narrow, 
winding corridors" as intestinal stimuli, seems sound and con- 
firms Schirmer 's assertion that the dream above all seeks to 
represent the stimulus-producing organ by means of objects 
resembling it. 

Thus we must be prepared to admit that the internal stimuli 
may play the same role in the dream as the external. Un- 
fortunately, their evaluation is subject to the same difficulties 
as those we have already encountered. In a large number of 
cases the interpretation of the stimuli as somatic remains uncer- 
tain and undemonstrable. Not all dreams, but only a certain 
portion of them, arouse the suspicion that an internal organic 
stimulus was concerned in their causation. And finally, the 
internal stimuli will be as little able as the external sensory 
stimuli to explain any more of the dream than pertains to the 
direct reaction to the stimuli. The origin, therefore, of the rest 
of the dream remains obscure. 

Let us, however, notice a peculiarity of dream life which be- 
comes apparent in the study of these effects of stimuli. The 
dream does not simply reproduce the stimulus, but it elaborates 
it, it plays upon it, places it in a sequence of relationships, re- 
places it with something else. That is a side of dream activity 
which must interest us because it may lead us closer to the nature 
of the dream. If one does something under stimulation, then 
this stimulation need not exhaust the act. Shakespeare's Mac- 
beth, for example, is a drama created on the occasion of the 
coronation of the King who for the first time wore upon his head 
the crown symbolizing the union of three countries. But does 
this historical occasion cover the content of the drama, does it 
explain its greatness and its riddle? Perhaps the external and 

Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 75 

internal stimuli, acting upon the sleeper, are only the ineitors of 
the dream, of whose nature nothing is betrayed to us from our 
knowledge of that fact 

The other element common to dreams, their psychic peculiar- 
ity, is on the one hand hard to comprehend, and on the other 
hand offers no point for further investigation. In dreams we 
perceive a thing for the most part in visual forms. Can the 
stimuli furnish a solution for this fact ? Is it actually the stimu- 
lus which. we experience? Why, then, is the experience visual 
when optic stimulation incited the dream only in the rarest 
cases? Or can it be proved, when we dream speeches, that 
during sleep a conversation or sounds resembling it reached our 
ear ? This possibility I venture decisively to reject. 

If, from the common elements of dreams, we get no further, 
then let us see what we can do with their differences. Dreams 
are often senseless, blurred, absurd ; but there are some that are 
meaningful, sober, sensible. Let us see if the latter, the sensible 
dreams, can give some information concerning the senseless ones. 
I will give you the most recent sensible dream which was told 
me, the dream of a young man : "I was promenading in Kartner 
Street, met Mr. X. there, whom I accompanied for a bit, and 
then I went to a restaurant. Two ladies and a gentleman seated 
themselves at my table. I was annoyed at this at first, and 
would not look at them. Then I did look, and found that they 
were quite pretty." The dreamer adds that the evening before 
the dream he had really been in Kartner Street, which is his 
usual route, and that he had met Mr. X. there. The other por- 
tion of the dream is no direct reminiscence, but bears a certain 
resemblance to a previous experience. Or another meaningful 
dream, that of a lady. "Her husband asks, 'Doesn't the piano 
need tuning?' She: 'It is not worth while; it has to be newly 
lined.' ' This dream reproduces without much alteration a 
conversation which took place the day before between herself and 
her husband. What can we learn from these two sober dreams ? 
Nothing but that you find them to be reproductions of daily life 
or ideas connected therewith. This would at least be something 
if it could be stated of all dreams. There is no question, however, 
that this applies to only a minority of dreams. In most dreams 
there is no sign of any connection with the previous day, and 
no light is thereby cast on the senseless and absurd dream. We 

76 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

know omy that we have struck a new problem. We wish to 
know not only what it is that the dream says, but when, as in 
our examples, the dream speaks plainly, we also wish to know 
why and wherefore this recent experience is repeated in the 

I believe you are as tired as I am of continuing attempts like 
these. We see, after all, that the greatest interest in a problem 
is inadequate if one does not know a path which will lead to a 
solution. Up to this point we have not found this path. Experi- 
mental psychology gave us nothing but a few very valuable 
pieces of information concerning the meaning of stimuli as 
dream incitors. We need expect nothing from philosophy except 
that lately it has taken haughtily to pointing out to us the in- 
tellectual inferiority of our object. Let us not apply to the 
occult sciences for help. History and popular tradition tell us 
that the dream is meaningful and significant; it sees into the 
future. Yet that is hard to accept and surely not demonstrable. 
Thus our first efforts end in entire helplessness. 

Unexpectedly we get a hint from a quarter toward which we 
have not yet looked. Colloquial usage which after all is not an 
accidental thing but the remnant of ancient knowledge, though 
it should not be made use of without caution our speech, that 
is to say, recognizes something which curiously enough it calls 
"day dreaming." Day dreams are phantasies. They are very 
common phenomena, again observable in the normal as well as in 
the sick, and access to their study is open to everyone in his 
own person. The most conspicuous feature about these phan- 
tastic productions is that they have received the name "day 
dreams, ' ' for they share neither of the two common elements of 
dreams. Their name contradicts the relation to the sleeping 
condition, and as regards the second common element, one does 
not experience or hallucinate anything, one only imagines it. 
One knows that it is a phantasy, that one is not seeing but 
thinking the thing. These day dreams appear in the period 
before puberty, often as early as the last years of childhood, 
continue into the years of maturity, are then either given up 
or retained through life. The content of these phantasies is 
dominated by very transparent motives. They are scenes and 
events in which the egoistic, ambitious and power-seeking desires 
of the individual find satisfaction. With young men th* am- 

Difficulties and Preliminary Approach 77 

bition phantasies generally prevail; in women, the erotic, since 
they have banked their ambition on success in love. But often 
enough the erotic desire appears in the background with men 
too; all the heroic deeds and incidents are after all meant only 
to win the admiration and favor of women. Otherwise these 
day dreams are very manifold and undergo changing fates. 
They are either, each in turn, abandoned after a short time and 
replaced by a new one, or they are retained, spun out into 
long stories, and adapted to changes in daily circumstances. 
They move with the time, so to speak, and receive from it a 
"time mark" which testifies to the influence of the new situation. 
They are the raw material of poetic production, for out of his 
day dreams the poet, with certain transformations, disguises and 
omissions, makes the situations which he puts into his novels, 
romances and dramas. The hero of the day dreams, however, 
is always the individual himself, either directly or by means of 
a transparent identification with another. 

Perhaps day dreams bear this name because of the similarity 
of their relation to reality, in order to indicate that their con- 
tent is as little to be taken for real as that of dreams. Perhaps, 
however, this identity of names does nevertheless rest on a char- 
acteristic of the dream which is still unknown to us, perhaps even 
one of those characteristics which we are seeking. It is possible, 
on the other hand, that we are wrong in trying to read a meaning 
into this similarity of designation. Yet that can only be cleared 
up later. 



Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation 

WE must find a new path, a new method, in order 
to proceed with the investigation of the dream. 
I shall now make an obvious suggestion. Let us 
assume as a hypothesis for everything which fol- 
lows, that the dream is not a somatic but a psychic phenomenon. 
You appreciate the significance of that statement, but what 
justification have we for making it ? None ; but that alone need 
not deter us from making it. The matter stands thus: If the 
dream is a somatic phenomenon, it does not concern us. It can 
be of interest to us only on the supposition that it is a psychic 
phenomenon. Let us therefore work upon that assumption in 
order to see what comes of it. The result of our labor will 
determine whether we are to hold to this assumption and 
whether we may, in fact, consider it in turn a result. What is 
it that we really wish to achieve, to what end are we working? 
It is what one usually seeks to attain in the sciences, an under- 
standing of phenomena, the creation of relationships between 
them, and ultimately, if possible, the extension of our control 
over them. 

Let us then proceed with the work on the assumption that the 
dream is a psychic phenomenon. This makes it an achievement 
and expression of the dreamer, but one that tells us nothing, 
one that we do not understand. What do you do when I make 
a statement you do not understand? You ask for an explana- 
tion, do you not? Why may we not do the same thing here, 
ask the dreamer to give us the meaning of his dreamf 

If you will remember, we were in this same situation once 
before. It was when we were investigating errors, a case of a 
slip of the tongue. Someone said: "Da sind dinge zum vor- 
tchwein gekommen," whereupon we asked no, luckily, not 


Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation 79 

we, but others, persons in no way associated with psychoanalysis 
these persons asked him what he meant by this unintelligible 
talk. He immediately answered that he had intended to say 
"Das war en schweinereien," but that he had suppressed this 
intention, in favor of the other, more gentle "Da sind dinge 
zum vorschein gekommen. ' '* I explained to you at the time that 
this inquiry was typical of every psychoanalytical investigation, 
and now you understand that psychoanalysis follows the tech- 
nique, as far as possible, of having the subjects themselves dis- 
cover the solutions of their riddles. The dreamer himself, then, 
is to tell us the meaning of his dream. 

It is common knowledge, however, that this is not such an 
easy matter with dreams. In the case of slips, our method 
worked in a number of cases, but we encountered some where 
the subject did not wish to say anything in fact, indignantly 
rejected the answer that we suggested. Instances of the first 
method are entirely lacking in the case of dreams ; the dreamer 
always says he knows nothing. He cannot deny our interpreta- 
tion, for we have none. Shall we then give up the attempt? 
Since he knows nothing and we know nothing and a third person 
surely knows nothing, it looks as though there were no possibility 
of discovering anything. If you wish, discontinue the investiga- 
tion. But if you are of another mind, you can accompany me 
on the way. For I assure you, it is very possible, in fact, 
probable, that the dreamer does know what his dream means, 
but does not know that he knows, and therefore believes he does 
not know. 

You will point out to me that I am again making an assump- 
tion, the second in this short discourse, and that I am greatly 
reducing the credibility of my claim. On the assumption that 
the dream is a psychic phenomenon, on the further assumption 
that there are unconscious things in man which he knows without 
knowing that he knows, etc. we need only realize clearly the 
intrinsic improbability of each of these two assumptions, and 
we shall calmly turn our attention from the conclusions to be 
derived from such premises. 

Yet, ladies and gentlemen, I have not invited you here to 
delude you or to conceal anything from you. I did, indeed, 
announce a General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, but I 

"Phe reader will recall the example: " things were re-filled." 

80 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

did not intend the title to convey that I was an oracle, who would 
show you a finished product with all the difficulties carefully 
concealed, all the gaps filled in and all the doubts glossed over, 
so that you might peacefully believe you had learned something 
new. No, precisely because you are beginners, I wanted to show 
you our science as it is, with all its hills and pitfalls, demands 
and considerations. For I know that it is the same in all sci- 
ences, and must be so in their beginnings particularly. I know, 
too, that teaching as a rule endeavors to hide these difficulties 
and these incompletely developed phases from the student. But 
that will not do in psychoanalysis. I have, as a matter of fact, 
made two assumptions, one within the other, and he who finds 
the whole too troublesome and too uncertain or is accustomed to 
greater security or more elegant derivations, need go no further 
with us. What I mean is, he should leave psychological problems 
entirely alone, for it must be apprehended that he will not find 
the sure and safe way he is prepared to go, traversable. Then, 
too, it is superfluous for a science that has something to offer 
to plead for auditors and adherents. Its results must create its 
atmosphere, and it must then bide its time until these have 
attracted attention to themselves. 

I would warn those of you, however, who care to continue, 
that my two assumptions are not of equal worth. The first, that 
the dream is a psychic phenomenon, is the assumption we wish 
to prove by the results of our work. The other has already been 
proved in another field, and I take the liberty only of trans- 
ferring it from that field to our problem. 

"Where, in what field of observation shall we seek the proof 
that there is in man a knowledge of which he is not conscious, 
as we here wish to assume in the case of the dreamer? That 
would be a remarkable, a surprising fact, one which would 
change our understanding of the psychic life, and which would 
have no need to hide itself. To name it would be to destroy it, 
and yet it pretends to be something real, a contradiction in terms. 
Nor does it hide itself. It is no result of the fact itself that we 
are ignorant of its existence and have not troubled sufficiently 
about it. That is just as little our fault as the fact that all 
these psychological problems are condemned by persons who have 
kept away from all observations and experiments which are 
decisive in this respect. 

Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation 81 

The proof appeared in the field of hypnotic phenomena. 
When, in the year 1889, I was a witness to the extraordinarily 
enlightening demonstrations of Siebault and Bernheim in Nancy, 
I witnessed also the following experiment : If one placed a man 
in the somnambulistic state, allowed him to have all manner of 
hallucinatory experience, and then woke him up, it appeared in 
the first instance that he knew nothing about what had happened 
during his hypnotic sleep. Bernheim then directly invited him 
to relate what had happened to him during the hypnosis. He 
maintained he was unable to recall anything. But Bernheim 
insisted, he persisted, he assured him he did know, that he must 
recall, and, incredible though it may seem, the man wavered, 
began to rack his memory, recalled in a shadowy way first one 
of the suggested experiences, then another; the recollection be- 
came more and more complete and finally was brought forth 
without a gap. The fact that he had this knowledge finally, and 
that he had had no experiences from any other source in the 
meantime, permits the conclusion that he knew of these recol- 
lections in the beginning. They were merely inaccessible, he did 
not know that he knew them ; he believed he did not know them. 
This is exactly what we suspect in the dreamer. 

I trust you are taken by surprise by the establishment of this 
fact, and that you will ask me why I did not refer to this proof 
before in the case of the slips, where we credited the man who 
made a mistake in speech with intentions he knew nothing about 
and which he denied. "If a person believes he knows nothing 
concerning experiences, the memory of which, however, he 
retains," you might say, ''it is no longer so improbable that 
there are also other psychic experiences within him of whose 
existence he is ignorant. This argument would have impressed 
us and advanced us in the understanding of errors." To be 
sure, I might then have referred to this but I reserved it for 
another place, where it was more necessary. Errors have in a 
measure explained themselves, have, in part, furnished us with 
the warning that we must assume the existence of psychic 
processes of which we know nothing, for the sake of the con- 
nection of the phenomena. In dreams we are compelled to look 
to other sources for explanations; and besides, I count on the 
fact that you will permit the inference I draw from hypnotism 
more readily in this instance. The condition in which we make 

82 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

mistakes must seem to you to be the normal one. It has no 
similarity to the hypnotic. On the other hand, there is a clear 
relationship between the hypnotic state and sleep, which is the 
essential condition of dreams. Hypnotism is known as artificial 
sleep; we say to the person whom we hypnotize, "Sleep," and 
the suggestions which we throw out are comparable to the dreams 
of natural sleep. The psychical conditions are in both cases 
really analogous. In natural sleep we withdraw our attention 
from the entire outside world; in the hypnotic, on the other 
hand, from the whole world with the exception of the one person 
who has hypnotized us, with whom we remain in touch. Further- 
more, the so-called nurse's sleep in which the nurse remains in 
touch with the child, and can be waked only by him, is a normal 
counterpart of hypnotism. The transference of one of the con- 
ditions of hypnotism to natural sleep does not appear to be such 
a daring proceeding. The inferential assumption that there is 
also present in the case of the dreamer a knowledge of his dream, 
a knowledge which is so inaccessible that he does not believe it 
himself, does not seem to be made out of whole cloth. Let us 
note that at this point there appears a third approach to the 
study of the dream ; from the sleep-disturbing stimuli, from the 
day-dreams, and now in addition, from the suggested dreams of 
the hypnotic state. 

Now we return, perhaps with increased faith, to our problem. 
Apparently it is very probable that the dreamer knows of his 
dream; the question is, how to make it possible for him to 
discover this knowledge, and to impart it to us? We do not 
demand that he give us the meaning of his dream at once, but 
he will be able to discover its origin, the thought and sphere of 
interest from which it springs. In the case of the errors, you 
will remember, the man was asked how he happened to use the 
wrong word, "vorschwein," and his next idea gave us the ex- 
planation. Our dream technique is very simple, an imitation of 
this example. We again ask how the subject happened to have 
the dream, and his next statement is again to be taken as an 
explanation. We disregard the distinction whether the dreamer 
believes or does not believe he knows, and treat both cases in the 
same way. 

This technique is very simple indeed, but I am afraid it will 
arouse your sharpest opposition. You will say, ' ' a new assump- 

Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation 83 

tion. The third! And the most improbable of all! If I ask 
the dreamer what he considers the explanation of his dream to 
be, his very next association is to be the desired explanation? 
But it may be he thinks of nothing at all, or his next thought may 
be anything at all. "We cannot understand upon what we can 
base such anticipation. This, really, is putting too much faith 
in a situation where a slightly more critical attitude would be 
more suitable. Furthermore, a dream is not an isolated error, 
but consists of many elements. To which idea should we pin 
our faith?" 

You are right in all the non-essentials. A dream must indeed 
be distinguished from a word slip, even in the number of its 
elements. The technique is compelled to consider this very care- 
fully. Let me suggest that we separate the dream into its 
elements, and carry on the investigation of each element sep- 
arately ; then the analogy to the word-slip is again set up. You 
are also correct when you say that in answer to the separate dream 
elements no association may occur to the dreamer. There are 
cases in which we accept this answer, and later you will hear 
what those cases are. They are, oddly enough, cases in which 
we ourselves may have certain associations. But in general we 
shall contradict the dreamer when he maintains he has no asso- 
ciations. We shall insist that he must have some association 
and we shall be justified. He will bring forth some association, 
any one, it makes no difference to us. He will be especially 
facile with certain information which might be designated as 
historical. He will say, ' ' that is something that happened yester- 
day" (as in the two "prosaic" dreams with which we are ac- 
quainted) ; or, "that reminds me of something that happened 
recently," and in this manner we shall notice that the act of 
associating the dreams with recent impressions is much more 
frequent than we had at first supposed. Finally, the dreamer 
will remember occurrences more remote from the dream, and 
ultimately even events in the far past. 

But in the essential matters you are mistaken. If you believe 
that we assume arbitrarily that the dreamer's next association 
will disclose just what we are seeking, or must lead to it, that 
on the contrary the association is just as likely to be entirely 
inconsequential, and without any connection with what we are 
seeking, and that it is an example of my unbounded optimism 

84 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

to expect anything else, then you are greatly mistaken. I have 
already taken the liberty of pointing out that in each one of you 
there is a deep-rooted belief in psychic freedom and volition, a 
belief which is absolutely unscientific, and which must capitulate 
before the claims of a determinism that controls even the psychic 
life. I beg of you to accept it as a fact that only this one associa- 
tion will occur to the person questioned. But I do not put one 
belief in opposition to another. It can be proved that the asso- 
ciation, which the subject produces, is not voluntary, is not 
indeterminable, not unconnected with what we seek. Indeed, 
I discovered long ago without, however, laying too much stress 
on the discovery that even experimental psychology has brought 
forth this evidence. 

I ask you to give your particular attention to the significance 
of this subject. If I invite a person to tell me what occurs to 
him in relation to some certain element of his dream I am ask- 
ing him to abandon himself to free association, controlled ~by a 
given premise. This demands a special delimitation of the 
attention, quite different from cogitation, in fact, exclusive of 
cogitation. Many persons put themselves into such a state 
easily ; others show an extraordinarily high degree of clumsiness. 
There is a higher level of free association again, where I omit this 
original premise and designate only the manner of the associa- 
tion, e.g., rule that the subject freely give a proper name or a 
number. Such an association would be more voluntary, more in- 
determinable, than the one called forth by our technique. But 
it can be shown that it is strongly determined each time by an 
important inner mental set which, at the moment at which it is 
active, is unknown to us, just as unknown as the disturbing 
tendencies in the case of errors and the provocative tendencies 
in the case of accidental occurrences. 

I, and many others after me, have again and again instigated 
such investigations for names and numbers which occur to the 
subject without any restraint, and have published some results. 
The method is the following: Proceeding from the disclosed 
names, we awaken continuous associations which then are no 
longer entirely free, but rather are limited as are the associations 
to the dream elements, and this is true until the impulse is 
exhausted. By that time, however, the motivation and signifi- 
cance of the free name associations is explained. The investiga- 

Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation 85 

tions always yield the same results, the information often covers 
a wealth of material and necessitates lengthy elaboration. The 
associations to freely appearing numbers are perhaps the most 
significant. They follow one another so quickly and approach 
a hidden goal with such inconceivable certainty, that it is really 
startling. I want to give you an example of such a name 
analysis, one that, happily, involves very little material. 

In the course of my treatment of a young man, I referred 
to this subject and mentioned the fact that despite the apparent 
volition it is impossible to have a name occur which does not 
appear to be limited by the immediate conditions, the peculiari- 
ties of the subject, and the momentary situation. He was 
doubtful, and I proposed that he make such an attempt immedi- 
ately. I know he has especially numerous relations of every 
sort with women and girls, and so am of the opinion that he will 
have an unusually wide choice if he happens to think of a 
woman's name. He agrees. To my astonishment, and perhaps 
even more to his, no avalanche of women's names descends upon 
my head, but he is silent for a time, and then admits that a 
single name has occurred to him and no other: Albino. How 
extraordinary, but what associations have you with this name? 
How many albinoes do you know? Strangely enough, he knew 
no albinoes, and there were no further associations with the 
name. One might conclude the analysis had proved a failure; 
but no it was already complete; no further association was 
necessary. The man himself had unusually light coloring. In 
our talks during the cure I had frequently called him an 
albino in fun. We were at the time occupied in determining the 
feminine characteristics of his nature. He himself was the 
Albino, who at that moment was to him the most interesting 
feminine person. 

In like manner, melodies, which come for no reason, show 
themselves conditioned by and associated with a train of thought 
which has a right to occupy one, yet of whose activity one is 
unconscious. It is easily demonstrable that the attraction to 
the melody is associated with the text, or its origin. But I must 
take the precaution not to include in this assertion really musical 
people, with whom, as it happens, I have had no experience. In. 
their cases the musical meaning of the melody may have occa- 
sioned its occurrence. More often the first reason holds. I 

86 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

know of a young man who for a time was actually haunted by 
the really charming melody of the song of Paris, from The 
Beautiful Helen, until the analysis brought to his attention the 
fact that at that time his interest was divided between an Ida 
and a Helen. 

If then the entirely unrestrained associations are conditioned 
in such a manner and are arranged in a distinct order, we are 
justified in concluding that associations with a single condition, 
that of an original premise, or starting point, may be conditioned 
to no less degree. The investigation does in fact show that aside 
from the conditioning which we have established by the premise, 
a second farther dependence is recognizable upon powerful 
affective thoughts, upon cycles of interest and complexes of whose 
influence we are ignorant, therefore unconscious at the time. 

Associations of this character have been the subject matter 
of very enlightening experimental investigations, which have 
played a noteworthy role in the history of psychoanalysis. The 
Wundt school proposed the so-called association-experiment, 
wherein the subject is given the task of answering in the quickest 
possible time, with any desired reaction, to a given stimulus- 
word. It is then possible to study the interval of time that 
elapses between the stimulus and the reaction, the nature of the 
answer given as reaction, the possible mistake in a subsequent 
repetition of the same attempt, and similar matters. The Zurich 
School under the leadership of Bleuler and Jung, gave the 
explanation of the reactions following the association-experi- 
ment, by asking the subject to explain a given reaction by means 
of further associations, in the cases where there was anything 
extraordinary in the reaction. It then became apparent that 
these extraordinary reactions were most sharply determined 
by the complexes of the subject. In this matter Bleuler and 
Jung built the first bridge from experimental psychology to 

Thus instructed, you will be able to say, "We recognize now 
that free associations are predetermined, not voluntary, as we 
had believed. We admit this also as regards the associations 
connected with the elements of the dream, but that is not what 
we are concerned with. You maintain that the associations to the 
dream element are determined by the unknown psychic back- 
ground of this very element. We do not think that this is ? 

Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation 87 

proven fact. We expect, to be sure, that the association to the 
dream element will clearly show itself through one of the com- 
plexes of the dreamer, but what good is that to us? That does 
not lead us to understand the dream, but rather, as in the case 
of the association-experiment, to a knowledge of the so-called 
complexes. What have these to do with the dream ? ' ' 

You are right, but you overlook one point, in fact, the very 
point because of which I did not choose the association-experi- 
ment as the starting point for this exposition. In this experi- 
ment the one determinate of the reaction, viz., the stimulus word, 
is- voluntarily chosen. The reaction is then an intermediary 
between this stimulus word and the recently aroused complex 
of the subject. In the dream the stimulus word is replaced by 
something that itself has its origin in the psychic life of the 
dreamer, in sources unknown to him, hence very likely itself a 
product of the complex. It is not an altogether fantastic 
hypothesis, then, that the more remote associations, even those 
that are connected with the dream element, are determined 
by no other complex than the one which determines the dream 
element itself, and will lead to the disclosure of the complex. 

Let me show you by another case that the situation is really 
as we expect it to be. Forgetting proper names is really a 
splendid example for the case of dream analysis; only here 
there is present in one person what in the dream interpretation 
is divided between two persons. Though I have forgotten a 
name temporarily I still retain the certainty that I know the 
came; that certainty which we could acquire for the dreamer 
only by way of the Bernheim experiment. The forgotten name, 
however, is not accessible. Cogitation, no matter how strenuous, 
does not help. Experience soon tells me that. But I am able 
each time to find one or more substitute names for the forgotten 
name. If such a substitute name occurs to me spontaneously 
then the correspondence between this situation and that of the 
dream analysis first becomes evident. Nor is the dream element 
the real thing, but only a substitute for something else, for what 
particular thing I do not know, but am to discover by means of 
the dream anaylsis. The difference lies only in this, that in 
forgetting a name I recognize the substitute automatically as 
unsuitable, while in the dream element we must acquire this 
interpretation with great labor. When a name is forgotten 

88 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

too, there is a way to go from the substitute to the unknown 
reality, to arrive at the forgotten name. If I centre my atten- 
tion on the substitute name and allow further associations to 
accumulate, I arrive in a more or less roundabout way at the 
forgotten name, and discover that the spontaneous substitute 
names, together with those called up by me, have a certain con- 
nection with the forgotten name, were conditioned by it. 

I want to show you an analysis of this type. One day I 
noticed that I could not recall the name of the little country in 
the Kiviera of which Monte Carlo is the capital. It is very 
annoying, but it is true. I steep myself in all my knowledge 
about this country, think of Prince Albert, of the house of 
Lusignan, of his marriages, his preference for deep-sea study, 
and anything else I can think of, but to no avail. So I give 
up the thinking, and in place of the lost name allow substitute 
names to suggest themselves. They come quickly Monte Carlo 
itself, then Piedmont, Albania, Montevideo, Colico. Albania is 
the first to attract my attention, it is replaced by Montenegro, 
probably because of the contrast between black and white. Then 
I see that four of these substitutes contain the same syllable 
mon. I suddenly have the forgotten word, and cry aloud, 
"Monaco." The substitutes really originated in the forgotten 
word, the four first from the first syllable, the last brings back 
the sequence of syllables and the entire final syllable. In addi- 
tion, I am also able easily to discover what it was that took the 
name from my memory for a time. Monaco is also the Italian 
name of Munich; this latter town exerted the inhibiting in- 

The example is pretty enough, but too simple. In other cases 
we must add to the first substitute names a long line of asso- 
ciations, and then the analogy to the dream interpretation be- 
comes clearer. I have also had such experiences. Once when a 
stranger invited me to drink Italian wine with him, it so hap- 
pened in the hostelry that he forgot the name of the wine he 
had intended to order just because he had retained a most 
pleasant memory of it. Out of a profusion of dissimilar sub- 
stitute associations which came to him in the place of the for- 
gotten name, I was able to conclude that the memory of some 
one named Hedwig had deprived him of the name of the wine, 
and he actually confirmed not only that he had first tasted this 

Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation 89 

wine in the company of a Hedwig, but he also, as a result of this 
declaration, recollected the name again. He was at the time 
happily married, and this Hedwig belonged to former times, 
not now recalled with pleasure. 

What is possible in forgetting names must work also in dream 
interpretation, viz., making the withheld actuality accessible 
by means of substitutions and through connecting associations. 
As exemplified by name-forgetting, we may conclude that in the 
case of the associations to the dream element they will be de- 
termined as well by the dream element as by its unknown 
essential. Accordingly, we have advanced a few steps in the 
formulation of our dream technique. 



Manifest Dream Content and Latent Dream Thought 

WE have not studied the problem of errors in vain. 
Thanks to our efforts in this field, under the con- 
ditions known to you, we have evolved two dif- 
ferent things, a conception of the elements of the 
dream and a technique for dream interpretation. The concep- 
tion of the dream element goes to show something unreal, a 
substitute for something else, unknown to the dreamer, similar 
to the tendency of errors, a substitute for something the dreamer 
knows but cannot approach. "We hope to transfer the same 
conception to the whole dream, which consists of just such 
elements. Our method consists of calling up, by means of free 
associations, other substitute formations in addition to these 
elements, from which we divine what is hidden. 

Let me ask you to permit a slight change in our nomenclature 
which will greatly increase the flexibility of our vocabulary. 
Instead of hidden, unapproachable, unreal, let us give a truer 
description and say inaccessible or unknown to the consciousness 
of the dreamer. By this we mean only what the connection 
with the lost word or with the interfering intention of the error 
can suggest to you, namely, unconscious for the time being, 
Naturally in contrast to this we may term conscious the elements 
of the dream itself and the substitute formations just gained by 
association. As yet there is absolutely no theoretical con- 
struction implied in this nomenclature. The use of the word 
unconscious as a suitable and intelligible descriptive epithet 
is above criticism. 

If we transfer our conception from a single element to the 
entire dream, we find that the dream as a whole is a distorted 
substitute for something else, something unconscious. To dis 


Dreams, Manifest Content and Latent Thought 91 

cover this unconscious thing is the task of dream interpretation. 
From this, three important rules, which we must observe in the 
work of dream interpretation, are straightway derived : 

1. What the dream seems to say, whether it be sensible or 
absurd, clear or confused is not our concern, since it can under 
no condition be that unconscious content we are seeking. Later 
we shall have to observe an obvious limitation of this rule. 2. 
The awakening of substitute formations for each element shall 
be the sole object of our work. We shall not reflect on these, 
test their suitability or trouble how far they lead away from 
the element of the dream. 3. We shall wait until the hidden un- 
conscious we are seeking appears of itself, as the missing word 
Monaco in the experiment which we have described. 

Now we can understand, too, how unimportant it is how much, 
how little, above all, how accurately or how indifferently the 
dream is remembered. For the dream which is remembered is 
not the real one, but a distorted substitute, which is to help us 
approach the real dream by awakening other substitute forma- 
tions and by making the unconscious in the dream conscious. 
Therefore if our recollection of the dream was faulty, it has 
simply brought about a further distortion of this substitute, a 
distortion which cannot, however, be unmotivated. 

One can interpret one 's own dreams as well as those of others. 
One learns even more from these, for the process yields more 
proof. If we try this, we observe that something impedes the 
work. Haphazard ideas arise, but we do not let them have their 
way. Tendencies to test and to choose make themselves felt. 
As an idea occurs, we say to ourselves "No, that does not fit, 
that does not belong here"; of a second "that is too senseless"; 
of a third, "this is entirely beside the point"; and one can 
easily observe how the ideas are stifled and suppressed by these 
objections, even before they have become entirely clear. On 
the one hand, therefore, too much importance is attached to the 
dream elements themselves; on the other, the result of free 
association is vitiated by the process of selection. If you are not 
interpreting the dream alone, if you allow someone else to 
interpret it for you, you will soon discover another motive which 
induces you to make this forbidden choice. At times you say 
to yourself, "No, this idea is too unpleasant, I either will not or 
cannot divulge this. ' ' 

92 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

Clearly these objections are a menace to the success of our 
work. We must guard against them, in our own case by the 
firm resolve not to give way to them ; and in the interpretation 
of the dreams of others by making the hard and fast rule for 
them, never to omit any idea from their account, even if one of 
the following four objections should arise: that is, if it should 
seem too unimportant, absurd, too irrelevant or too embarrassing 
to relate. The dreamer promises to obey this rule, but it is 
annoying to see how poorly he keeps his promise at times. At 
first we account for this by supposing that in spite of the 
authoritative assurance which has been given to the dreamer, 
he is not impressed with the importance of free association, and 
plan perhaps to win his theoretic approval by giving him 
papers to read or by sending him to lectures which are to make 
him a disciple of our views concerning free association. But 
we are deterred from such blunders by the observation that, in 
one's own case, where convictions may certainly be trusted, the 
same critical objections arise against certain ideas, and can only 
be suppressed subsequently, upon second thought, as it were. 

Instead of becoming vexed at the disobedience of the dreamer, 
these experiences can be turned to account in teaching some- 
thing new, something which is the more important the less we 
are prepared for it. We understand that the task of inter- 
preting dreams is carried on against a certain resistance which 
manifests itself by these critical objections. This resistance is 
independent of the theoretical conviction of the dreamer. Even 
more is apparent. We discover that such a critical objection is 
never justified. On the contrary, those ideas which we are so 
anxious to suppress, prove tvithout exception to be the most 
important, the most decisive, in the search for the unconscious. 
It is even a mark of distinction if an idea is accompanied by 
such an objection. 

This resistance is something entirely new, a phenomenon which 
we have found as a result of our hypotheses although it was 
not originally included in them. We are not too pleasantly sur- 
prised by this new factor in our problem. We suspect that it will 
not make our work any easier. It might even tempt us to 
abandon our entire work in connection with the dream. Such 
an unimportant thing as the dream and in addition such diffi- 
culties instead of a smooth technique ! But from another point 

Dreams, Manifest Content and Latent Thought 93 

of view, these same difficulties may prove fascinating, and sug- 
gest that the work is worth the trouble. Whenever we try to 
penetrate to the hidden unconscious, starting out from the sub- 
stitute which the dream element represents, we meet with re- 
sistance. Hence, we are justified in supposing that something 
of weight must be hidden behind the substitute. What other 
reason could there be for the difficulties which are maintained 
for purposes of concealment ? If a child does not want to open 
his clenched fist, he is certainly hiding something he ought not 
to have. 

Just as soon as we bring the dynamic representation of re- 
sistance into our consideration of the case, we must realize that 
this factor is something quantitatively variable. There may be 
greater or lesser resistances and we are prepared to see these 
differences in the course of our work. We may perhaps connect 
this with another experience found in the work of dream in- 
terpretation. For sometimes only one or two ideas serve to 
carry us from the dream element to its unconscious aspect, 
while at other times long chains of associations and the sup- 
pression of many critical objections are necessary. We shall 
note that these variations are connected with the variable force 
of resistance. This observation is probably correct. If re- 
sistance is slight, then the substitute is not far removed from 
the unconscious, but strong resistance carries with it a great 
distortion of the unconscious and in addition a long journey 
back to it. 

Perhaps the time has come to take a dream and try out our 
method to see if our faith in it shall be confirmed. But which 
dream shall we choose? You cannot imagine how hard it is 
for me to decide, and at this point I cannot explain the source 
of the difficulty. Of course, there must be dreams which, as a 
whole, have suffered slight distortion, and it would be best to 
start with one of these. But which dreams are the least dis- 
torted? Those which are sensible and not confused, of which 
I have already given you two examples ? This would be a gross 
misunderstanding. Testing shows that these dreams have suf- 
fered by distortion to an exceptionally high degree. But if I 
take the first best dream, regardless of certain necessary con- 
ditions, you would probably be very much disappointed. Per- 
haps we should have to note such an abundance of ideas in 

94 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

connection with single elements of dream that it would be 
absolutely impossible to review the work in perspective. If we 
write the dream out and confront it with the written account 
of all the ideas which arise in connection with it, these may 
easily amount to a reiteration of the text of the dream. It 
would therefore seem most practical to choose for analysis sev- 
eral short dreams of which each one can at least reveal or con- 
firm something. This is what we shall decide upon, provided 
experience should not point out where we shall really find 
slightly distorted dreams. 

But I know of another way to simplify matters, one which, 
moreover, lies in our path. Instead of attempting the interpre- 
tation of entire dreams, we shall limit ourselves to single dream 
elements and by observing a series of examples we shall see 
how these are explained by the application of our method. 

1. A lady relates that as a child she often dreamt "ihat God 
had a pointed paper hat on his head." How do you expect to 
understand that without the help of the dreamer? Why, it 
sounds quite absurd. It is no longer absurd when the lady 
testifies that as a child she was frequently made to wear such 
a hat at the table, because she could not help stealing glances at 
the plates of her brothers and sisters to see if one of them had 
gotten more than she. The hat was therefore supposed to act 
as a sort of blinder. This explanation was moreover historic, 
and given without the least difficulty. The meaning of this 
fragment and of the whole brief dream, is clear with the help 
of a further idea of the dreamer. " Since I had heard that God 
was all-knowing and all-seeing," she said, "the dream can only 
mean that I know everything and see everything just as God 
does, even when they try to prevent me." This example is 
perhaps too simple. 

2. A sceptical patient has a longer dream, in which certain 
people happen to tell her about my book concerning laughter 
and praise it highly. Then something is mentioned about a 
certain " ' canal,' perhaps another book in which < canal' occurs, 
or something else with the word 'canal' . . . she doesn't know 
. . . it is all confused." 

Now you will be inclined to think that the element "canal" 
will evade interpretation because it is so vague. You are right 
as to the supposed difficulty, but it is not difficult because it is 

Dreams, Manifest Content and Latent THought 95 

vague, but rather it is vague for a different reason, the same 
reason which also makes the interpretation difficult. The 
dreamer can think of nothing concerning the word canal, I 
naturally can think of nothing. A little while later, as a matter 
of fact on the next day, she tells me that something occurred 
to her that may perhaps be related to it, a joke that she has 
heard. On a ship between Dover and Calais a well-known 
author is conversing with an Englishman, who quoted the follow- 
ing proverb in a certain connection: "Du sublime au ridicule, 
U n'y a qu'un pas." 1 The author answers, "Oui, le pas de 
Calais/' 2 with which he wishes to say -that he finds France sub- 
lime and England ridiculous. But the "Pas de Calais" is really 
a canal, namely, the English Channel. Do I think that this 
idea has anything to do with the dream? Certainly, I believe 
that it really gives the solution to the puzzling dream fragments. 
Or can you doubt that this joke was already present in the 
dream, as the unconscious factor of the element, " canal." Can 
you take it for granted that it was subsequently added to it? 
The idea testifies to the scepticism which is concealed behind 
her obtrusive admiration, and the resistance is probably the 
common reason for both phenomena, for the fact that the idea 
came so hesitatingly and that the decisive element of the dream 
turned out to be so vague. Kindly observe at this point the 
relation of the dream element to its unconscious factor. It is 
like a small part of the unconscious, like an allusion to it; 
through its isolation it became quite unintelligible. 

3. A patient dreams, in the course of a longer dream: 
"Around a table of peculiar shape several members of his family 
are sitting, etc." In connection with this table, it occurs to him 
that he saw such a piece of furniture during a visit to a certain 
family. Then his thoughts continue : In this family a peculiar 
relation had existed between father and son, and soon he adds 
to this that as a matter of fact the same relation exists between 
himself and his father. The table is therefore taken up into 
the dream to designate this parallel. 

This dreamer had for a long time been familiar with the claims 
of dream interpretation. Otherwise he might have taken ex- 
ception to the fact that so trivial a detail as the shape of a table 

'From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a narrow passage. 
*Yes, the passage from Calais. 

96 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ghould be taken as the basis of the investigation. As a matter 
of fact we judge nothing in the dream as accidental or in- 
different, and we expect to reach our conclusion by the explana- 
tion of just such trivial and unmotivated details. Perhaps you 
will be surprised that the dream work should arouse the thought 
"we are in exactly the same position as they are," just by the 
choice of the table. But even this becomes clear when you 
learn that the name of the family in question is Tischler. By 
permitting his own family to sit at such a table, he intends to 
express that they too are Tischler. Please note how, in 
relating such a dream interpretation, one must of necessity 
become indiscreet. Here you have arrived at one of the diffi- 
culties in the choice of examples that I indicated before. I 
could easily have substituted another example for this one, but 
would probably have avoided this indiscretion at the cost ot 
committing another one in its place. 

The time has come to introduce two new terms, which we 
could have used long ago. We shall call that which the dream 
relates, the manifest content of the dream ; that which is hidden, 
which we can only reach by the analysis of ideas we shall call 
latent dream thoughts. We may now consider the connection 
between the manifest dream content and the latent dream 
thoughts as they are revealed in these examples. Many different 
connections can exist. In examples 1 and 2 the manifest con- 
tent is also a constituent part of the latent thought, but only 
a very small part of it. A small piece of a great composite 
psychic structure in the unconscious dream thought has pene- 
trated into the manifest dream, like a fragment of it, or in 
other cases, like an allusion to it, like a catchword or an 
abbreviation in the telegraphic code. The interpretation must 
mould this fragment, or indication, into a whole, as was done 
most successfully in example 2. One sort of distortion of which 
the dream mechanism consists is therefore substitution by means 
of a fragment or an allusion. In the third, moreover, we must 
recognize another relation which we shall see more clearly and 
distinctly expressed in the following examples: 

4. The dreamer "pulls a certain woman of his acquaintance 
from behind a 'bed." He finds the meaning of this dream ele- 
ment himself by his first association. It means: This woman 
"has a pull" with him. 1 
1 "Vorzug." "Vom Bett hervorziehen. " 

Dreams, Manifest Content and Latent Thought 97 

5. Another man dreams that "his brother is in a closet." 
The first association substitutes clothes-press for closet, and the 
second gives the meaning: his brother is close-pressed for 
money. 2 

6. The dreamer "climbs a mountain from the top of which 
he has an extraordinarily distant view." This sounds quite 
sensible; perhaps there is nothing about it that needs interpre- 
tation, and it is simply necessary to find out which reminiscence 
this dream touches upon and why it was recalled. But you are 
mistaken; it is evident that this dream requires interpretation 
as well as any other which is confused. For no previous 
mountain climbing of his own occurs to the dreamer, but he 
remembers that an acquaintance of his is publishing a "Rund- 
schau," which deals with our relation to the furthermost parts 
of the earth. The latent dream thought is therefore in this case 
an identification of the dreamer with the " Rundschauer." 

Here you find a new type of connection between the manifest 
content and the latent dream element. The former is not so much 
a distortion of the latter as a representation of it, a plastic 
concrete perversion that is based on the sound of the word. 
However, it is for this very reason again a distortion, for we 
have long ago forgotten from which concrete picture the word 
has arisen, and therefore do not reocgnize it by the image which 
is substituted for it. If you consider that the manifest dream 
consists most often of visual images, and less frequently of 
thoughts and words, you can imagine that a very particular 
significance in dream formation is attached to this sort of rela- 
tion. You can also see that in this manner it becomes possible 
to create substitute formations for a great number of abstract 
thoughts in the manifest dream, substitutions that serve the pur- 
pose of further concealment all the same. This is the technique 
of our picture puzzle. What the origin is of the semblance of 
wit which accompanies such representations is a particular ques- 
tion which we need not touch upon at this time. 

A fourth type of relation between the manifest and the latent 
dream cannot be dealt with until its cue in the technique has 
been given. Even then I shall not have given you a complete 
enumeration, but it will be sufficient for our purpose. 

Have you the courage to venture upon the interpretation of 

"Schrankt sich ein." 

98 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

an entire dream? Let us see if we are well enough equipped 
for this undertaking. Of course, I shall not choose one of the 
most obscure, but one nevertheless that shows in clear outline 
the general characteristics of a dream. 

A young woman who has been married for many years dreams : 
"She is sitting in the theatre with her husband; one side of the 
orchestra is entirely unoccupied. Her husband tells her that 
Elise L. and her bridegroom had also wished to come, but had 
only been able to procure poor seats, three for 1 FL, 50 Kr. 
and those of course they could not take. She thinks this is no 
misfortune for them." 

The first thing that the dreamer has to testify is that the 
occasion for the dream is touched upon in its manifest content. 
Her husband had really told her that Elise L., an acquaintance 
of about her age, had become engaged. The dream is the .reac- 
tion to this news. We already know that in the case of many 
dreams it is easy to trace such a cause to the preceding day, and 
that the dreamer often gives these deductions without any 
difficulty. The dreamer also places at our disposal further 
information for other parts of the manifest dream content. 
Whence the detail that one side of the orchestra is unoccupied ? 
It is an allusion to an actual occurrence of the previous week. 
She had made up her mind to go to a certain performance and 
had procured tickets in advance, so much in advance that she 
had been forced to pay a preference tax. 3 When she arrived at 
the theatre, she saw how needless had been her anxiety, for one 
side of the orchestra was almost empty. She could have bought 
the tickets on the day of the performance itself. Her husband 
would not stop teasing her about her excessive haste. Whence 
the 1 Fl. 50 Kr.? From a very different connection that 
has nothing to do with the former, but which also alludes to an 
occurrence of the previous day. Her sister-in-law had received 
150 florins as a present from her husband, and knew no better, 
the poor goose, than to hasten to the jeweler and spend the 
money on a piece of jewelry. Whence the number 3 ? She can 
think of nothing in connection with this unless one stresses the 
association that the bride, Elise L., is only three months younger 

1 In Germany tickets may be bought before the day of the performance 
only upon additional payment, over and above /the regular cost of the 
ticket. This is called " Vorverkauf sgebiihr. " 

Dreams, Manifest Content and Latent Thought 99 

than she herself, who has been married for almost ten years. 
And the absurdity of buying three tickets for two people ? She 
says nothing of thlg, and indeed denies all further associations 
or information. 

But she has given us so much material in her few associations, 
that it becomes possible to derive the latent dream thought 
from it. It must strike us that in her remarks concerning the 
dream, time elements which constitute a common element in the 
various parts of this material appear at several points. She 
attended to the tickets too soon, took them too hastily, so that she 
had to pay more than usual for them ; her sister-in-law likewise 
hastened to carry her money to the jeweler's to buy a piece of 
jewelry, just as if she might miss it. Let us add to the expres- 
sions "too early," "precipitately," which are emphasized so 
strongly, the occasion for the dream, namely, that her friend 
only three months younger than herself had even now gotten a 
good husband, and the criticism expressed in the condemnation 
of her sister-in-law, that it was foolish to hurry so. Then the 
following construction of the latent dream thought, for which 
the manifest dream is a badly distorted substitute, comes to us 
almost spontaneously: 

' ' How foolish it was of me to hurry so in marrying ! Elise 's 
example shows me that I could have gotten a husband later too." 
(The precipitateness is represented by her own behavior in 
buying the tickets, and that of her sister-in-law in purchasing 
jewelry. Going to the theatre was substituted for getting mar- 
ried. This appears to have been the main thought ; and perhaps 
we may continue, though with less certainty, because the analysis 
in these parts is not supported by statements of the dreamer.) 
"And I would have gotten 100 times as much for my money." 
(150 Fl. is 100 times as much as 1 Fl. 50 Kr.). If we might 
substitute the dowry for the money, then it would mean that 
one buys a husband with a dowry; the jewelry as well as the 
poor seats would represent the husband. It would be even more 
desirable if the fragment "3 seats" had something to do with 
a husband. But our understanding does not penetrate so far. 
"We have only guessed that the dream expresses her disparage- 
ment of her own husband, and her regret at having married so 

It is my opinion that we are more surprised and confused than 

100 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

satisfied by the result of this first dream interpretation. We are 
swamped by more impressions than we can master. We see that 
the teachings of dream interpretation are not easily exhausted. 
Let us hasten to select those points that we recognize as giving 
us new, sound insight. 

In the first place, it is remarkable that in the latent thought 
the main emphasis falls on the element of haste ; in the manifest 
dream there is absolutely no mention of this to be found. With- 
out the analysis we should not have had any idea that this ele- 
ment was of any importance at all. So it seems possible that 
just the main thing, the central point of the unconscious 
thoughts, may be absent in the manifest dream. Because of this, 
the original impression in the dream must of necessity be en- 
tirely changed. Secondly: In the dream there is a senseless 
combination, 3 for 1 Fl. 50 Kr. ; in the dream thought we divine, 
the sentence, "It was senseless (to marry so early)." Can one 
deny that this thought, "It was senseless," was represented in 
the manifest dream by the introduction of an absurd element? 
Thirdly: Comparison will show that the relation between the 
manifest and latent elements is not simple, certainly not of 
such a sort that a manifest element is always substituted for the 
latent. There must rather be a quantitative relationship be- 
tween the two groups, according to which a manifest element 
may represent several latent ones, or a latent element repre- 
sented by several manifest elements. 

Much that is surprising might also be said of the sense of the 
dream and the dreamer's reaction to it. She acknowledges the 
interpretation but wonders at it. She did not know that she 
disparaged her husband so, and she did not know why she should 
disparage him to such a degree. There is still much that is 
incomprehensible. I really believe that we are not yet fully 
equipped for dream interpretation, and that we must first re- 
ceive further instruction and preparation. 



Dreams of Childhood 

WE think we have advanced too rapidly. Let us go 
back a little. Before our last attempt to overcome 
the difficulties of dream distortion through our 
technique, we had decided that it would be best to 
avoid them by limiting ourselves only to those dreams in which 
distortion is either entirely absent or of trifling importance, if 
there are such. But here again we digress from the history of the 
evolution of our knowledge, for as a matter of fact we become 
aware of dreams entirely free of distortion only after the con- 
sistent application of our method of interpretation and after 
complete analysis of the distorted dream. 

The dreams we are looking for are found in children. They 
are short, clear, coherent, easy to understand, unambiguous, and 
yet unquestionable dreams. But do not think that all children 's 
dreams are like this. Dream distortion makes its appearance 
very early in childhood, and dreams of children from five to 
eight years of age have been recorded that showed all the char- 
acteristics of later dreams. But if you will limit yourselves to 
the age beginning with conscious psychic activity, up to the 
fourth or fifth year, you will discover a series of dreams that 
are of a so-called infantile character. In a later period of 
childhood you will be able to find some dreams of this nature 
occasionally. Even among adults, dreams that closely resemble 
the typically infantile ones occur under certain conditions. 

From these children's dreams we gain information concerning 
the nature of dreams with great ease and certainty, and we 
hope it will prove decisive and of universal application. 

1. For the understanding of these dreams we need no analysis, 
no technical methods. "We need not question the child that is 
giving an account of his dream. But one must add to this a 


102 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

story taken from the life of the child. An experience of the 
previous day will always explain the dream to us. The dream is 
a sleep-reaction of psychic life upon these experiences of the 

We shall now consider a few examples so that we may base 
our further deductions upon them. 

o) . A boy of 22 months is to present a basket of cherries as a 
birthday gift. He plainly does so very unwillingly, although 
they promise him that he will get some of them himself. The 
next morning he relates as his dream, "Hermann eat all 

&). A little girl of three and a quarter years makes her first 
trip across a lake. At the landing she does not want to leave the 
boat and cries bitterly. The time of the trip seems to her to 
have passed entirely too rapidly. The next morning she says, 
"Last night I rode on the lake." We may add the supple- 
mentary fact that this trip lasted longer. 

c). A boy of five and a quarter years is taken on an excursion 
into the Escherntal near Hallstatt. He had heard that Hallstatt 
lay at the foot of the Dachstein, and had shown great interest in 
this mountain. From his home in Aussee there was a beautiful 
view of the Dachstein, and with a telescope one could discern 
the Simonyhiitte upon it. The child had tried again and again 
to see it through the telescope, with what result no one knew. 
He started on the excursion in a joyously expectant mood. 
Whenever a new mountain came in sight the boy asked, ' ' Is that 
the Dachstein?" The oftener this question was answered in the 
negative, the more moody he became; later he became entirely 
silent and would not take part in a small climb to a waterfall. 
They thought he was overtired, but the next morning, he said 
quite happily, "Last night I dreamed that we were in the 
Simonyhiitte." It was with this expectation, therefore, that he 
had taken part in the excursion. The only detail he gave was 
one he had heard before, "you had to climb steps for six hours." 

These three dreams will suffice for all the information we 

2. We see that children's dreams are not meaningless; they 
are intelligible, significant, psychic acts. You will recall what I 
represented to you as the medical opinion concerning the dream, 
the simile of untrained fingers wandering aimlessly over the 

Dreams of Childhood 103 

keys of the piano. You cannot fail to see how decidedly these 
dreams of childhood are opposed to this conception. But it 
would be strange indeed if the child brought forth complete 
psychic products in sleep, while the adult in the same condition 
contents himself with spasmodic reactions. Indeed, we have 
every reason to attribute the more normal and deeper sleep to 
the child. 

3. Dream distortion is lacking in these dreams, therefore they 
need no interpretation. The manifest and latent dreams are 
merged. Dream distortion is therefore not inherent in the 
dream. I may assume that this relieves you of a great burden. 
But upon closer consideration we shall have to admit of a tiny 
bit of distortion, a certain differentiation between manifest 
dream content and latent dream thought, even in these dreams. 

4. The child's dream is a reaction to an experience of the day, 
which has left behind it a regret, a longing or an unfulfilled 
desire. The dream brings about the direct unconcealed fulfill' 
ment of this wish. Now recall our discussions concerning the 
importance of the role of external or internal bodily stimuli as 
disturbers of sleep, or as dream producers. "We learned definite 
facts about this, but could only explain a very small number 
of dreams in this way. In these children's dreams nothing 
points to the influence of such somatic stimuli; we cannot be 
mistaken, for the dreams are entirely intelligible and easy to 
survey. But we need not give up the theory of physical causa- 
tion entirely on this account. We can only ask why at the outset 
we forgot that besides the physical stimuli there are also psychic 
sleep-disturbing stimuli. For we know that it is these stimuli 
that commonly cause the disturbed sleep of adults by preventing 
them from producing the ideal condition of sleep, the with- 
drawal of interest from the world. The dreamer does not wish 
to interrupt his life, but would rather continue his work with 
the things that occupy him, and for this reason he does not sleep. 
The unfulfilled wish, to which he reacts by means of the dream, 
is the psychic sleep-disturbing stimulus for the child. 

5. From this point we easily arrive at an explanation of the 
function of the dream. The dream, as a reaction to the psychic 
stimulus, must have the value of a release of this stimulus which 
results in its elimination and in the continuation of sleep. We 
do not know how this release is made possible bv the dream, but 

104 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

we note that the dream is not a disturber of sleep, as calumny 
says, but a guardian of sleep, whose duty it is to quell disturb- 
ances. It is true, we think we would have slept better if we had 
not dreamt, but here we are wrong; as a matter of fact, we 
would not have slept at all without the help of the dream. That 
we have slept so soundly is due to the dream alone. It could 
not help disturbing us slightly, just as the night watchman often 
cannot avoid making a little noise while he drives away the 
rioters who would awaken us with their noise. 

6. One main characteristic of the dream is that a wish is its 
source, and that the content of the dream is the gratification of 
this wish. Another equally consent feature is that the dream 
does not merely express a thought, but also represents the ful- 
fillment of this wish in the form of a hallucinatory experience, 
"I should like to travel on the lake," says the wish that excites 
the dream; the dream itself has as its content "I travel on the 
lake." One distinction between the latent and manifest dream, 
a distortion of the latent dream thought, therefore remains even 
in the case of these simple children 's dreams, namely, the transla- 
tion of the thought into experience. In the interpretation of the 
dream it is of utmost importance that this change be traced 
back. If this should prove to be an extremely common charac- 
teristic of the dream, then the above mentioned dream fragment, 
"/ see my brother in a closet" could not be translated, "My 
brother is close-pressed," but rather, "I wish that my brother 
were close-pressed, my brother should be close-pressed." Of the 
two universal characteristics of the dream we have cited, the 
second plainly has greater prospects of unconditional acknowl- 
edgment than the first. Only extensive investigation can ascer- 
tain that the cause of the dream must always be a wish, and 
cannot also be an anxiety, a plan or a reproach; but this does 
not alter the other characteristic-, that the dream does not simply 
reproduce the stimulus but by experiencing it anew, as it were, 
removes, expells and settles it. 

7. In connection with these characteristics of the dream we can 
again resume the comparison between the dream and the error. 
In the case of the latter we distinguish an interfering tendency 
and one interfered with, and the error is the compromise between 
the two. The dream fits into the same scheme. The tendency 

Dreams of Childhood 105 

interfered with, in this case, can be no other than that of sleep. 
For the interfering tendency we substitute the psychic stimulus, 
the wish which strives for its fulfillment, let us say, for thus far 
we are not familiar with any other sleep-disturbing psychic 
stimulus. In this instance also the dream is the result of com- 
promise. We sleep, and yet we experience the removal of a 
wish ; we gratify the wish, but at the same time continue to sleep. 
Both are partly carried out and partly given up. 

8. You will remember that we once hoped to gain access to the 
understanding of the dream problem by the fact that certain 
very transparent phantasy formations are called day dreams. 
Now these day dreams are actual wish fulfillments, fulfillments 
of ambitious or erotic wishes with which we are familiar; but 
they are conscious, and though vividly imagined, they are never 
hallucinatory experiences. In this instance, therefore, the less 
firmly established of the two main characteristics of the dream 
holds, while the other proves itself entirely dependent upon 
the condition of sleep and impossible to the waking state. In 
colloquial usage, therefore, there is a presentment of the fact 
that the fulfillment of a wish is a main characteristic of the 
dream. Furthermore, if the experience in the dream is a trans- 
formed representation only made possible by the condition of 
sleep in other words, a sort of nocturnal day dream then we 
can readily understand that the occurrence of phantasy forma- 
tions can release the nocturnal stimulus and bring satisfaction. 
For day dreaming is an activity closely bound up in gratification 
and is, indeed, pursued only for this reason. 

Not only this but other colloquial usages also express the same 
feeling. Well-known proverbs say, "The pig dreams of acorns, 
the goose of maize, ' ' or ask, ' ' Of what does the hen dream ? Of 
millet." So the proverb descends even lower than we do, from 
the child to the animal, and maintains that the content of a 
dream is the satisfaction of a need. Many turns of speech seem 
to point to the same thing "dreamlike beauty," "I should 
never have dreamed of that," "in my wildest dreams I hadn't 
imagined that." This is open partisanship on the part of col- 
loquial usage. For there are also dreams of fear and dreams 
of embarrassing or indifferent content, but they have not been 
drawn into common usage. It is true that common usage 
recognizes "bad" dreams, but still the dream plainly connotates 

106 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

to it only the beautiful wish fulfillment. There is indeed no 
proverb that tells us that the pig or the goose dreams of being 

Of course it is unbelievable that the wish-fulfillment charac- 
teristic has not been noted by writers on the dream. Indeed, 
this was very often the case, but none of them thought of ac- 
knowledging this characteristic as universal and of making it 
the basis of an explanation of the dream. We can easily 
imagine what may have deterred them and shall discuss it sub- 

See what an abundance of information we have gained, with 
almost no effort, from the consideration of children's dreams 
the function of the dream as a guardian of sleep ; its origin from 
two rival tendencies, of which the one, the longing for sleep, 
remains constant, while the other tries to satisfy a psychic stimu- 
lus ; the proof that the dream is a significant psychic act ; its two 
main characteristics: wish fulfillment and hallucinatory ex- 
perience. And we were almost able to forget that we are 
engaged in psychoanalysis. Aside from its connection with 
errors our work has no specific connotation. Any psychologist, 
who is entirely ignorant of the claims of psychoanalysis, could 
have given this explanation of children's dreams. Why has no 
one done so ? 

If there were only infantile dreams, our problem would be 
solved, our task accomplished, and that without questioning the 
dreamer, or approaching the unconscious, and without taking 
free association into consideration. The continuation of our task 
plainly lies in this direction. We have already repeatedly had 
the experience that characteristics that at first seemed uni- 
versally true, have subsequently held good only for a certain 
kind and for a certain number of dreams. It is therefore for us 
to decide whether the common characteristics which we have 
gathered from children's dreams can be applied universally, 
whether they also hold for those dreams that are not transparent, 
whose manifest content shows no connection with wishes left 
over from the previous day. We think that these dreams have 
undergone considerable distortion and for this reason are not 
to be judged superficially. We also suspect that for the ex- 
planation of this distortion we shall need the psychoanalytic 

Dreams of Childhood 107 

method which we could dispense with in the understanding of 
children's dreams. 

There is at any rate a class of dreams that are undistorted, 
and, just like children's dreams, are easily recognizable as wish 
fulfillments. It is those that are called up throughout life by 
the imperative needs of the body hunger, thirst, sexual desire 
hence wish fulfillments in reaction to internal physical stimuli. 
For this reason, I have noted the dream of a young girl, 

that consisted of a menu following her name (Anna F , 

strawberry, huckleberry, egg-dish, pap), as a reaction to an 
enforced day of fasting on account of a spoiled stomach, which 
was directly traceable to the eating of the fruits twice mentioned 
in the dream. At the same time, the grandmother, whose age 
added to that of her grandchild would make a full seventy, had 
to go without food for a day on account of kidney-trouble, and 
dreamed the same night that she had been invited out and that 
the finest tid-bits had been set before her. Observations with 
prisoners who are allowed to go hungry, or with people who 
suffer privations on travels or expeditions, show that under these 
conditions the dreams regularly deal with the satisfaction of 
these needs. Otto Nordenskjold, in his book Antarctic (1904), 
testifies to the same thing concerning his crew, who were ice- 
bound with him during the winter (Vol. 1, page 336). "Very 
significant in determining the trend of our inmost thoughts were 
our dreams, which were never more vivid and numerous than 
just at this time. Even those of our comrades who ordinarily 
dreamed but seldom, now had long stories to tell, when in the 
morning we exchanged our latest experiences in that realm of 
phantasy. All of them dealt with that outside world that now 
was so far away from us, but often they fitted into our present 
condition. Food and drink were most often the pivots about 
which our dreams revolved. One of us, who excelled in going to 
great dinners in his sleep, was most happy whenever he could 
tell us in the morning that he attended a dinner of three courses ; 
another one dreamed of tobacco, whole mountains of tobacco; 
still another dreamed of a ship that came along on the open sea, 
under full sail. One other dream deserves mention : The postman 
comes with the mail and gives a long explanation of why it is so 
late ; he had delivered it to the wrong address and only after great 
trouble on his part had succeeded in getting it back. Of course one 

108 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

occupies himself with even more impossible things in sleep, but in 
nearly all the dreams that I myself dreamed or heard tell of, the 
lack of phantasy was quite striking. It would surely be of 
great psychological interest if all these dreams were recorded. 
It is easy to understand how we longed for sleep, since it could 
offer us everything for which each one of us felt the most burning 
desire." I quote further from Du Prel. "Mungo Park, who 
during a trip in Africa was almost exhausted, dreamed without 
interruption of the fertile valleys and fields of his home. Trenck, 
tortured by hunger in the redoubt at Magdeburg, likewise saw 
himself surrounded by wonderful meals, and George Back, who 
took part in Franklin's first expedition, dreamed regularly and 
consistently of luxurious meals when, as a result of terrible 
privations, he was nearly dead of hunger." 

A man who feels great thirst at night after enjoying highly 
seasoned food for supper, often dreams that he is drinking. It 
is of course impossible to satisfy a rather strong desire for food 
or drink by means of the dream ; from such a dream one awakes 
thirsty and must now drink real water. The effect of the dream 
is in this case practically trifling, but it is none the less clear 
that it was called up for the purpose of maintaining the sleep 
in spite of the urgent impulse to awake and to act. Dreams of 
satisfaction often overcome needs of a lesser intensity. 

In a like manner, under the influence of sexual stimuli, the 
dream brings about satisfaction that shows noteworthy peculiari- 
ties. As a result of the characteristic of the sexual urge which 
makes it somewhat less dependent upon its object than hunger 
and thirst, satisfaction in a dream of pollution may be an actual 
one, and as a result of difficulties to be mentioned later in con- 
nection with the object, it happens especially often that the 
actual satisfaction is connected with confused or distorted dream 
content. This peculiarity of the dream of pollution, as 0. Rank 
has observed, makes it a fruitful subject to pursue in the study 
of dream distortion. Moreover, all dreams of desire of adults 
usually contain something besides satsf action, something that has 
its origin in the sources of the purely psychic stimuli, and which 
requires interpretation to render it intelligible. 

Moreover we shall not maintain that the wish-fulfillment 
dreams of the infantile kind occur in adults only as reactions 
to the known imperative desires. We also know of short clear 

Dreams of Childhood 109 

dreams of this sort under the influence of dominating situations 
that arise from unquestionably psychic sources. As, for ex- 
ample, in dreams of impatience, whenever a person has made 
preparations for a journey, for a theatrical performance, for a 
lecture or for a visit, and now dreams of the anticipated fulfill- 
ment of his expectations, and so arrives at his goal the night 
before the actual experience, in the theatre or in conversation 
with his host. Or the well-named dreams of comfort, when a 
person who likes to prolong his sleep, dreams that he is already 
up, is washing himself, or is already in school, while as a matter 
of fact he continues sleeping, hence would rather get up in a 
dream than in reality. The desire for sleep which we have 
recognized as a regular part of the dream structure becomes 
intense in these dreams and appears in them as the actual 
shaping force of the dream. The wish for sleep properly takes 
its place beside other great physical desires. 

At this point I refer you to a picture by Schwind, from the 
Schack Gallery in Munich, so that you may see how rightly the 
artist has conceived the origin of a dream from a dominating 
situation. It is the Dream of a, Prisoner? which can have no 
other subject than his release. It is a very neat stroke that the 
release should be effected through the window, for the ray of 
light that awakens the prisoner comes through the same window. 
The gnomes standing one above the other probably represent 
the successive positions which he himself had to take in climbing 
to the height of the window, and I do not think I am mistaken 
or that I attribute too much preconcerted design to the artist, 
by noting that the uppermost of the gnomes, who is filing the 
grating (and so does what the prisoner would like to do) has 
the features of the prisoner. 

In all other dreams except those of children and those of the 
infantile type, distortion, as we have said, blocks our way. At 
the outset we cannot ascertain whether they are also wish fulfill- 
ments, as we suspect; from their manifest content we cannot 
determine from what psychic stimulus they derive their origin, 
and we cannot prove that they also are occupied in doing away 
with the stimulus and in satisfying it. They must probably be 
interpreted, that is, translated; their distortion must be an- 
nulled ; their manifest content replaced by their latent thought 
before we can judge whether what we have found in children's 
dreams may claim a universal application for all dreams. 

1 See frontispiece. 



The Dream Censor 

WE have learned to know the origin, nature and 
function of the dream from the study of children 's 
dreams. Dreams are the removal of sleep-disturb- 
ing psychic stimuli by way of hallucinated satis- 
faction. Of adults' dreams, to be sure, we could explain only 
one group, what we characterized as dreams of an infantile type. 
As to the others we know nothing as yet, nor do we understand 
them. For the present, however, we have obtained a result whose 
significance we do not wish to under-estimate. Every time a 
dream is completely comprehensible to us, it proves to be an 
hallucinated wish-fulfillment. This coincidence cannot be acci- 
dental, nor is it an unimportant matter. 

We conclude, on the basis of various considerations and by 
analogy to the conception of mistakes, that another type of 
dream is a distorted substitute for an unknown content and 
that it must first be led back to that content. Our next task 
is the investigation and the understanding of this dream 

Dream distortion is the thing which makes the dream seem 
strange and incomprehensible to us. We want to know several 
things about it ; firstly, whence it comes, its dynamics ; secondly, 
what it does; and finally, how it does it. We can say at this 
point that dream distortion is the product of the dream work, 
that is, of the mental functioning of which the dream itself is 
the conscious symptom. Let us describe the dream work and 
trace it back to the forces which work upon it. 

And now I shall ask you to listen to the following dream. 
It was recorded by a lady of our profession, and according to 
her, originated with a highly cultivated and respected lady of 
advanced age. No analysis of this dream was made. Our in- 


The Dream Censor 111 

formant lemarks that to a psychoanalyst it needs no interpreta- 
tion. The dreamer herself did not interpret it, but she judged 
and condemned it as if she understood its interpretation. For 
she said concerning it: "That a woman of fifty should dream 
such abominable, stupid stuff a woman who has no other 
thought, day and night, than to care for her child ! ' ' 

And now follows the dreams of the "services of love." "She 
goes into Military Hospital No. 1, and says to the sentry at the 
gate, that she must speak to the chief physician . . . (she men- 
tions a name which is not familiar to her), as she wants to offer 
her service to the hospital. She stresses the word 'service,' so 
love services. Since she is an old lady he lets her pass after 
some hesitation. But instead of reaching the chief physician, 
she finds herself in a large somber room in which there 
are many officers and army doctors sitting and standing 
around a long table. She turns with her proposal to a staff 
doctor who, after a few words, soon understands her. The words 
of her speech in the dream are, 'I and numerous other women 
and girls of Vienna are ready for the soldiers, troops, and officers, 
without distinction . . . ' Here in the dream follows a murmur- 
ing. That the idea is, however, correctly understood by those 
present she sees from the semi-embarrassed, somewhat malicious 
expressions of the officers. The lady then continues, 'I know 
that our decision sounds strange, but we are in bitter earnest. 
The soldier in the field is not asked either whether or not he 
wants to die.' A moment of painful silence follows. The staff 
doctor puts his arm around her waist and says, 'Madame, let 
us assume that it really came to that . . .' (murmurs). She 
withdraws from his arm with the thought, * They are all alike ! ' 
and answers, ' My heavens, I am an old woman, and perhaps will 
never be confronted with that situation; one consideration, 
moreover, must be kept in mind : the consideration of age, which 
prevents an older woman from . . . with a very young boy . . . 
(murmurs) . . . that would be horrible.' The staff doctor, 
4 1 understand perfectly/ Several officers, among them one who 
had paid court to her in her youth, laugh loudly, and the lady 
asks to be conducted to the chief physician, whom she knows, so 
that everything may be arranged. At this she realizes with 
great dismay that she does not know his name. The staff officer, 
nevertheless, very politely and respectfully shows her the way 

112 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

to the second story, up a very narrow winding iron stairway 
which leads to the upper story directly from the door of the 
room. In going up she hears an officer say, ' That is a tremendous 
decision irrespective of whether a woman is young or old; all 
honor to her ! ' 

"With the feeling that she is merely doing her duty, she goes 
up an endless staircase." 

This dream she repeats twice in the course of a few weeks, 
with as the lady notices quite insignificant and very senseless 

This dream corresponds in its structure to a day dream. It 
has few gaps, and many of its individual points might have been 
elucidated as to content through inquiry, which, as you know, 
was omitted. The conspicuous and interesting point for us, 
however, is that the dream shows several gaps, gaps not of 
recollection, but of original content. In three places the contend 
is apparently obliterated, the speeches in which these gaps occur 
are interrupted by murmurs. Since we have performed no 
analysis, we have, strictly speaking, also no right to make any 
assertion about the meaning of the dream. Yet there are intima- 
tions given from which something may be concluded. For ex- 
ample, the phrase "services of love," and above all the bits of 
speech which immediately precede the murmurs, demand a com- 
pletion which can have but one meaning. If we interpolate 
these, then the phantasy yields as its content the idea that the 
dreamer is ready, as an act of patriotic duty, to offer her person 
for the satisfaction of the erotic desires of the army, officers as 
well as troops. That certainly is exceedingly shocking, it is an 
impudent libidinous phantasy, but it does not occur in the 
dream at all. Just at the point where consistency would demand 
this confession, there is a vague murmur in the manifest dream, 
something is lost or suppressed. 

I hope you will recognize the inevitability of the conclusion 
that it is the shocking character of these places in the dream thai 
Was the motive for their suppression. Yet where do you find a 
parallel for this state of affairs? In these times you need not 
seek far. Take up any political paper and you will find that 
the text is obliterated here and there, and that in its place 
shimmers the white of the paper. You know that that is the 
work of the newspaper censor. In these blank spaces something 

The Dream Censor 113 

was printed which was not to the liking of the censorship author- 
ities, and for that reason it was crossed out. You think that it 
is a pity, that it probably was the most interesting part, it was 
"the best part." 

In other places the censorship did not touch the completed 
sentence. The author foresaw what parts might be expected to 
meet with the objection of the censor, and for that reason he 
softened them by way of prevention, modified them slightly, or 
contented himself with innuendo and allusion to what really 
wanted to flow from his pen. Thus the sheet, it is true, has no 
blank spaces, but from certain circumlocutions and obscurities of 
expression you will be able to guess that thoughts of the censor- 
ship were the restraining motive. 

Now let us keep to this parallel. We say that the omitted 
dream speeches, which were disguised by a murmuring, were 
also sacrifices to a censorship. We actually speak of a dream 
censor to which we may ascribe a contributing part in the dream 
distortion. Wherever there are gaps in the manifest dream, it 
is the fault of the dream censor. Indeed, we should go further, 
and recognize each time as a manifestation of the dream censor, 
those places at which a dream element is especially faint, indefi- 
nitely and doubtfully recalled among other, more clearly de- 
lineated portions But it is only rarely that this censorship 
manifests itself so undisguisedly, so naively one may say, as in 
the example of the dream of the "services of love." Far more 
frequently the censorship manifests itself according to the 
second type, through the production of weakenings, innuendoes, 
allusions instead of direct truthfulness. 

For a third type of dream censorship I know of no parallel 
in the practice of newspaper censorship, yet it is just this type 
that I can demonstrate by the only dream example which we 
have so far analyzed. You will remember the dream of the 
"three bad theatre tickets for one florin and a half." In the 
latent thoughts of this dream, the element "precipitately, too 
soon/' stood in the foreground. It means: "It was foolish to 
marry so early, it was also foolish to buy theatre tickets so early; 
it was ridiculous of the sister-in-law to spend her money so 
hastily, merely to buy an ornament." Nothing of this central 
element of the dream thought was evident in the manifest dream. 
In the latter, going to the theatre and getting the tickets werg 

114 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

shoved into the foreground. Through this displacement of the 
emphasis, this regrouping of the elements of the content, the 
manifest dream becomes so dissimilar from the latent dream 
thoughts that no one would suspect the latter behind the former. 
This displacement of emphasis is a favorite device of the dream 
distortion and gives the dream that strangeness which makes the 
dreamer himself unwilling to recognize it as his own production. 

Omission, modification, regrouping of the material, these, 
then, are the effects of the dream censor and the devices of dream 
distortion. The dream censorship itself is the author, or one of 
the authors, of the dream distortion whose investigation now 
occupies us. Modification and rearrangement we are already 
accustomed to summarize as displacement. 

After these remarks concerning the effects of the dream 
censor, let us now turn to their dynamics. I hope you will not 
consider the expression too anthropomorphically, and picture the 
dream censor as a severe little manikin who lives in a little 
brain chamber and there performs his duties; nor should you 
attempt to localize him too much, to think of a brain center 
from which his censoring influence emanates, and which would 
cease with the injury or extirpation of this center. For the 
present, the term "dream censor" is no more than a very con- 
venient phrase for a dynamic relationship. This phrase does not 
prevent us from asking by what tendencies such influence is 
exerted and upon which tendencies it works; nor will we be 
surprised to discover that we have already encountered the 
dream censor before, perhaps without recognizing him. 

For such was actually the case. You will remember that we 
had a surprising experience when we began to apply our tech- 
nique of free association. We then began to feel that some sort 
of a resistance blocked our efforts to proceed from the dream 
element to the unconscious element for which the former is the 
substitute. This resistance, we said, may be of varying strength, 
enormous at one time, quite negligible at another. In the latter 
case we need cross only a few intermediate steps in our work 
of interpretation. But when the resistance is strong, then we 
must go through a long chain of associations, are taken far afield 
and must overcome all the difficulties which present themselves 
as critical objections to the association technique. What we 
met with in the work of interpretation, we must now bring into 

The Dream Censor 115 

the dream work as the dream censor. The resistance to interpre- 
tation is nothing but the objectivation of the dream censor. The 
latter proves to us that the force of the censor has not spent 
itself in causing the dream distortion, has not since been ex- 
tinguished, but that this censorship continues as a permanent 
institution with the purpose of preserving the distortion. More- 
over, just as in the interpretation the strength of the resistance 
varied with each element, so also the distortion produced by the 
censor in the same dream is of varying magnitude for each 
element. If one compares the manifest with the latent dream 
one sees that certain isolated latent elements have been prac- 
tically eliminated, others more or less modified, and still others 
left unchanged, indeed, have perhaps been taken over into the 
dream content with additional strength. 

But we wanted to discover what purposes the censorship serves 
and against which tendencies it acts. This question, which is 
fundamental to the understanding of the dream, indeed perhaps 
to human life, is easily answered if we look over a series of 
those dreams which have been analyzed. The tendencies which 
the censorship exercises are those which are recognized by the 
waking judgment of the dreamer, those with which he feels him- 
self in harmony. You may rest assured that when you reject 
an accurate interpretation of a dream of your own, you do so 
with the same motives with which the dream censor works, the 
motives with which it produces the dream distortion and makes 
the interpretation necessary. Recall the dream of our fifty- 
year old lady. "Without having interpreted it, she considers 
her dream abominable, would have been still more outraged if 
our informant had told her anything about the indubitable 
meaning; and it is just on account of this condemnation that 
the shocking spots in her dream were replaced by a murmur. 

The tendencies, however, against which the dream censor 
directs itself, must now be described from the standpoint of 
this instance. One can say only that these tendencies are of an 
objectionable nature throughout, that they are shocking from 
an ethical, aesthetic and social point of view, that they are 
things one does not dare even to think, or thinks of only with 
abhorrence. These censored wishes which have attained to a 
distorted expression in the dream, are above all expressions of 
a boundless, reckless egoism. And indeed, the personal ego 

116 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

occurs in every dream to play the major part in each of them, 
even if it can successfully disguise itself in the manifest content. 
This sacro egoismo of the dream is surely not unconnected 
with the sleep-inducing cessation of psychic activity which con- 
sists, it should be noted, in the withdrawal of interest from the 
entire external world. 

The ego which has been freed of all ethical restraints feels 
itself in accord with all the demands of the sexual striving, with 
those demands which have long since been condemned by our 
aesthetic rearing, demands of such a character that they resist 
all our moral demands for restraint. The pleasure-striving 
the libido, as we term it chooses its objects without inhibitions, 
and indeed, prefers those that are forbidden. It chooses not 
only the wife of another, but, above all, those incestuous objects 
declared sacred by the agreement of mankind the mother and 
sister in the man's case, the father and brother in the woman's. 
Even the dream of our fifty-year old lady is an incestuous one, 
its libido unmistakably directed toward her son. Desires which 
we believe to be far from human nature show themselves strong 
enough to arouse dreams. Hate, too, expends itself without 
restraint. Revenge and murderous wishes toward those standing 
closest to the dreamer are not unusual, toward those best beloved 
in daily life, toward parents, brothers and sisters, toward one's 
spouse and one's own children. These censored wishes seem to 
arise from a veritable hell ; no censorship seems too harsh to be 
applied against their waking interpretation. 

But do not reproach the dream itself for this evil content. 
You will not, I am sure, forget that the dream is charged with 
the harmless, indeed the useful function of guarding sleep from 
disturbance. This evil content, then, does not lie in the nature 
of the dream. You know also that there are dreams which can 
be recognized as the satisfaction of justified wishes and urgent 
bodily needs. These, to be sure, undergo no dream distortion. 
They need none. They can satisfy their function without offend- 
ing the ethical and aesthetic tendencies of the ego. And will 
you also keep in mind the fact that the amount of dream dis- 
tortion is proportional to two factors. On the one hand, the 
worse the censorable wish, the greater the distortion; on the 
other hand, however, the stricter the censor himself is at any 
particular time the greater the distortion will be also. A young; 

The Dream Censor 117 

<*trictly reared and prudish girl will, by reason of those factors, 
disfigure with an inexorable censorship those dream impulses 
which we physicians, for example, and which the dreamer her- 
self ten years later, would recognize as permissible, harmless, 
libidinous desires. 

Besides, we are far from being at the point where we can allow 
ourselves to be shocked by the results of our work of interpreta- 
tion. I think we are not yet quite adept at it; and above all 
there lies upon us the obligation to secure it against certain 
attacks. It is not at all difficult to "find a hitch" in it. Our 
dream interpretations were made on the hypotheses we accepted 
a little while ago, that the dream has some meaning, that from 
the hypnotic to the normal sleep one may carry over the idea of 
the existence at such times of an unconscious psychic activity, 
and that all associations are predetermined. If we had come to 
plausible results on the basis of these hypotheses, we would have 
been justified in concluding that the hypotheses were correct. 
But what is to be done when the results are what I have just 
pictured them to be? Then it surely is natural to say, "These 
results are impossible, foolish, at least very improbable, hence 
there must have been something wrong with the hypotheses. 
Either the dream is no psychic phenomenon after all, or there 
is no such thing as unconscious mental activity in the normal 
condition, or our technique has a gap in it somewhere. Is that 
not a simpler and more satisfying conclusion than the abomina- 
tions which we pretend to have disclosed on the basis of our 

Both, I answer. It is a simpler as well as a more satisfying 
conclusion, but not necessarily more correct for that reason. Let 
us take our time, the matter is not yet ripe for judgment. Above 
all we can strengthen the criticism against our dream interpreta- 
tion still further. That its conclusions are so unpleasant and 
unpalatable is perhaps of secondary importance. A stronger 
argument is the fact that the dreamers to whom we ascribe such 
wish-tendencies from the interpretation of their dreams reject 
the interpretations most emphatically, and with good reason. 
"What," says the one, "you want to prove to me by this dream 
that I begrudged the sums which I spent for my sister's trous- 
seau and my brother's education? But indeed that can't be so. 
Why I work only for my sister, I have no interest in life but 
to fulfill my duties toward her, as being the oldest child, I 

118 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

promised our blessed mother I would." Or a woman says of 
her dream, "You mean to say that I wish my husband were 
dead! Why, that is simply revolting, nonsense. It isn't only 
that we have the happiest possible married life, you probably 
won't believe me when I tell you so, but his death would de- 
prive me of everything else that I own in the world." Or 
another will tell us, "You mean that I have sensual desires 
toward my sister? That is ridiculous. I am not in the least 
fond of her. We don't get along and I haven't exchanged a 
word with her in years." We might perhaps ignore this sort of 
thing if the dreamers did not confirm or deny the tendencies 
ascribed to them; we could say that they are matters which 
the dreamers do not know about themselves. But that the 
dreamers should feel the exact opposite of the ascribed wish, and 
should be able to prove to us the dominance of the opposite 
tendency this fact must finally disconcert us. Is it not time 
to lay aside the whole work of the dream interpretation as 
something whose results reduce it to absurdity? 

By no means; this stronger argument breaks down when we 
attack it critically. Assuming that there are unconscious ten- 
dencies in the psychic life, nothing is proved by the ability of 
the subject to show that their opposites dominate his conscious 
life. Perhaps there is room in the psychic life even for an- 
tithetical tendencies, for contradictions which oxist side by side, 
yes, possibly it is just the dominance of the one impulse which 
is the necessary condition for the unconsciousness of its opposite. 
The first two objections raised against our work hold merely 
that the results of dream interpretation are not simple, and very 
unpleasant. In answer to the first of these, one may say that 
for all your enthusiasm for the simple solution, you cannot 
thereby solve a single dream problem. To do so you must make 
up your mind to accept the fact of complicated relationships. 
And to the second of these objections one may say that you 
are obviously wrong to use a preference or a dislike as the basis 
for a scientific judgment. What difference does it make if the 
results of the dream interpretation seem unpleasant, even em- 
barrassing and disgusting to you? "That doesn't prevent them 
from existing," as I used to hear my teacher Charcot say in 
similar cases, when I was a young doctor. One must be humble, 
one must keep personal preferences and antipathies in the back- 

The Dream Censor 119 

ground, if one wishes to discover the realities of the world. If 
a physicist can prove to you that the organic life of this planet 
must, within a short period of time, become completely extinct, 
do you also venture to say to him, "That cannot be so. This 
prospect is too unpleasant. ' ' On the contrary, you will be silent 
until another physicist proves some error in the assumptions or 
calculations of the first. If you reject the unpleasant, you are 
repeating the mechanism of dream construction instead of under- 
standing and mastering it. 

Perhaps you will promise to overlook the repulsive character 
of the censored dream-wishes, and will take refuge in the argu- 
ment that it is improbable, after all, that so wide a field be given 
over to the evil in the constitution of man. But does your own 
experience justify you in saying that? I will not discuss the 
question of how you may estimate yourselves, but have you 
found so much good will among your superiors and rivals, so 
much chivalry among your enemies, so little envy in their com- 
pany, that you feel yourselves in duty bound to enter a protest 
against the part played by the evil of egoism in human nature ? 
Are you ignorant of how uncontrolled and undependable the 
average human being is in all the affairs of sex life ? Or do you 
not know that all the immoralities and excesses of which we 
dream nightly are crimes commited daily by waking persons? 
What else does psychoanalysis do here but confirm the old saying 
of Plato, that the good people are those who content themselves 
with dreaming what the others, the bad people, really do? 

And now turn your attention from the individual case to the 
great war devastating Europe. Think of the amount of brutal- 
ity, the cruelty and the lies allowed to spread over the civilized 
world. Do you really believe that a handful of conscienceless 
egoists and corruptionists could have succeeded in setting free 
all these evil spirits, if the millions of followers did not share 
in the guilt? Do you dare under these circumstances to break 
a lance for the absence of evil from the psychic constitution of 
mankind ? 

You will reproach me with judging the war one-sidedly, you 
will say that it has also brought forth all that is most beautiful 
and noble in mankind, its heroic courage, its self-sacrifice, its 
social feeling. Certainly, but do not at this point allow your- 
selves to become guilty of the injustice which has so often been 

120 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

perpetrated against psychoanalysis, of reproaching it with deny- 
ing one thing because it was asserting another. It is not our 
intention to deny the noble strivings of human nature, nor have 
we ever done anything to deprecate their value. On the con- 
trary, I show you not only the censored evil dream-wishes, but 
also the censor which suppresses them and renders them un- 
recognizable. We dwell on the evil in mankind with greater 
emphasis only because others deny it, a method whereby the 
psychic life of mankind does not become better, but merely 
incomprehensible. When, however, we give up this one-sided 
ethical estimate, we shall surely be able to find a more accurate 
formula for the relationship of the evil to the good in human 

And thus the matter stands. We need not give up the con- 
clusions to which our labors in dream interpretation lead us 
even though we must consider those conclusions strange. Per- 
haps we can approach their understanding later by another 
path. For the present, let us repeat: dream distortion is a 
consequence of the censorship practised by accredited tendencies 
of the ego against those wish-impulses that are in any way 
shocking, impulses which stir in us nightly during sleep. Why 
these wish-impulses come just at night, and whence they come 
these are questions which will bear considerable investigation. 

It would be a mistake, however, to omit to mention, with fitting 
emphasis, another result of these investigations. The dream 
wishes which try to disturb our sleep are not known to us, in 
fact we learn of them first through the dream interpretation. 
Therefore, they may be described as "at that time" unconscious 
in the sense above defined. But we can go beyond this and say 
that they are more than merely "at that time" unconscious. 
The dreamer to be sure denies their validity, as we have seen 
in so many cases, even after he has learned of their existence by 
means of the interpretation. The situation is then repeated 
which we first encountered in the interpretation of the tongue 
slip "hiccough" where the toastmaster was outraged and as- 
sured us that neither then nor ever before had he been conscious 
of disrespectful impulse toward his chief. This is repeated with 
every interpretation of a markedly distorted dream, and for 
that reason attains a significance for our conception. We are 
now prepared to conclude that there are processes and tendencies 

The Dream Censor 121 

in the psychic life of which one knows nothing at all, has known 
nothing for some time, might, in fact, perhaps never have known 
anything. The unconscious thus receives a new meaning for us ; 
the idea of "at present" or ''at a specific time" disappears 
from its conception, for it can also mean permanently uncon- 
scious, not merely latent at the time. Obviously we shall 
have to learn more of this at another session. 



Symbolism in the Dream 

WE have discovered that the distortion of dreams, a 
disturbing element in our work of understanding 
them, is the result of a censorious activity which 
is directed against the unacceptable of the uncon- 
scious wish-impulses. But, of course, we have not maintained 
that censorship is the only factor which is to blame for the 
dream distortion, and we may actually make the discovery in a 
further study of the dream that other items play a part in this 
result. That is, even ii! the dream censorship were eliminated 
we might not be in a position to understand the dreams; the 
actual dream still might not be identical with the latent dream 

This other item which makes the dream unintelligible, this 
new addition to dream distortion, we discover by considering 
a gap in our technique. I have already admitted that for cer- 
tain elements of the dream, no associations really occur to the 
person being analyzed. This does not happen so often as the 
dreamers maintain ; in many cases the association can be forced 
by persistence. But still there are certain instances in whic> 
no association is forthcoming, or if forced does not furnish what 
we expected. When this happens in the course of a psycho- 
analytic treatment, then a particular meaning may be attached 
thereto, with which we have nothing to do here. It also occurs, 
however, in the interpretation of the dreams of a normal person 
or in interpreting one's own dreams. Once a person is con- 
vinced that in these cases no amount of forcing of associations 
will avail, he will finally make the discovery that the unwished- 
for contingency occurs regularly in certain dream elements, and 
he will begin to recognize a new order of things there, where at 
first he believed he had come across a peculiar exception to our 


Symbolism in the Dream 123 

In this way we are tempted to interpret these silent dream 
elements ourselves, to undertake their translation by the means 
at hand. The fact that every time we trust to this substitution 
we obtain a satisfactory meaning is forced upon us; until we 
resolve upon this decision the dream remains meaningless, its 
continuity is broken. The accumulation of many similar cases 
tends to give the necessary certainty to our first timid attempts. 

I am expounding all this in rather a schematic manner, but 
this is permissible for purposes of instruction, and I am not 
trying to misstate, but only to simplify matters. 

In this manner we derive constant translations for a whole 
series of dream elements just as constant translations are found 
in our popular dream books for all the things we dream. But 
do not forget that in our association technique we never discover 
constant substitutes for the dream elements. 

You will say at once that this road to interpretation appears 
far more uncertain and open to objection than the former 
methods of free association. But a further fact is to be taken 
into consideration. After one has gathered a sufficient number 
of such constant substitutes empirically, he will say that of his 
own knowledge he should actually have denied that these items 
of dream interpretation could really be understood without the 
associations of the dreamer. The facts that force us to recognize 
their meaning will appear in the second half of our analysis. 

We call such a constant relationship between a dream element 
and its interpretation symbolic. The dream element is itself a 
symbol of the unconscious dream thought. You will remember 
that previously, when we were investigating the relationship 
between dream elements and their actuality, I drew three dis- 
tinctions, viz., that of the part of the whole, that of the allusion, 
and that of the imagery. I then announced that there was a 
fourth, but did not name it. This fourth is the symbolic rela- 
tionship here introduced. Very interesting discussions center 
about this, and we will now consider them before we express 
our own particular observations on symbolism. Symbolism is 
perhaps the most noteworthy chapter of dream study. 

In the first place, since symbols are permanent or constant 
translations, they realize, in a certain measure, the ideal of 
ancient as well as popular dream interpretation, an ideal which 
by means of our technique we had left behind. They permit us 

124 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

in certain cases to interpret a dream without questioning the 
dreamer who, aside from this, has no explanation for the symbol, 
If the interpreter is acquainted with the customary dream 
symbols and, in addition, with the dreamer himself, the con- 
ditions under which the latter lives and the impressions he 
received before having the dream, it is often possible to interpret 
a dream without further information to translate it "right off 
the bat." Such a trick flatters the interpreter and impresses 
the dreamer; it stands out as a pleasurable incident in the 
usual arduous course of cross-examining the dreamer. But do 
not be misled. It is not our function to perform tricks. Inter- 
pretation based on a knowledge of symbols is not a technique 
that can replace the associative technique, or even compare with 
it. It is a supplement to the associative technique, and furnishes 
the latter merely with transplanted, usable results. But as 
regards familiarity with the dreamer's psychic situation, you 
must consider the fact that you are not limited to interpreting 
the dreams of acquaintances; that as a rule you are not ac- 
quainted with the daily occurrences which act as the stimuli for 
the dreams, and that the associations of the subject furnish you 
with a knowledge of that very thing we call the psychic situation. 

Furthermore, it is very extraordinary, particularly in view 
of circumstances to be mentioned later, that the most vehement 
opposition has been voiced against the existence of the symbolic 
relationship between the dream and the unconscious. Even per- 
sons of judgment and position, who have otherwise made great 
progress in psychoanalysis, have discontinued their support at 
this point. This is the more remarkable since, in the first place, 
symbolism is neither peculiar to the dream nor characteristic of 
it, and since in the second place, symbolism in the dream was 
not discovered through psychoanalysis, although the latter is 
not poor otherwise in making startling discoveries. The dis- 
coverer of dream symbolism, if we insist on a discovery in 
modern times, was the philosopher K. A. Schemer (1861). 
Psychoanalysis affirmed Schemer's discovery and modified it 

Now you will want to know something of the nature of dream 
symbolism, and to hear some examples. I shall gladly impart 
to you what I know, but I admit that our knowledge is not so 
complete as we could desire it to be. 

Symbolism in the Dream 125 

The nature of the symbol relationship is a comparison, but 
not any desired comparison. One suspects a special prerequisite 
for this comparison, but is unable to say what it is. Not every- 
thing to which we are able to compare an object or an occurrence 
occurs in the dream as its symbol ; on the other hand, the dream 
does not symbolize anything we may choose, but only specific 
elements of the dream thought. There are limitations on both 
sides. It must be admitted that the idea of the symbol cannot 
be sharply delimited at all times it mingles with the substitu- 
tion, dramatization, etc., even approaches the allusion. In one 
series of symbols the basic comparison is apparent to the senses. 
On the other hand, there are other symbols which raise the 
question of where the similarity, the "something intermediate" 
cf this suspected comparison is to be sought. We may discover 
it by more careful consideration, or it may remain hidden to us. 
Furthermore, it is extraordinary, if the symbol is a comparison, 
that this comparison is not revealed by the association, that the 
dreamer is not acquainted with the comparison, that he makes 
use of it without knowing of' its existence. Indeed, the dreamer 
does not even care to admit the validity of this comparison 
when it is pointed out to him. So you see, a symbolic relation- 
ship is a comparison of a very special kind, the origin of which is 
not yet clearly understood by us. Perhaps later we may find 
references to this unknown factor. 

The number of things that find symbolic representation in 
the dream is not great the human body as a whole, parents, 
children, brothers and sisters, birth, death, nakedness and a 
few others. The only typical, that is, regular representation of 
the human person as a whole is in the form of a house, as was 
recognized by Schemer who, indeed, wished to credit this symbol 
with an overwhelming significance which it does not deserve. 
It occurs in dreams that a person, now lustful, now frightened, 
climbs down the fronts of houses. Those with entirely smooth 
walls are men; but those which are provided with projections 
and balconies to which one can hold on, are women. Parents 
appear in the dream as king and queen, or other persons highly 
respected. The dream in this instance is very pious. It treats 
children, and brothers and sisters, less tenderly; they are sym- 
bolized as little animals or vermin. Birth is almost regularly 
represented by some reference to water; either one plunges into 

126 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the water or climbs out of it, or rescues someone from the water, 
or is himself rescued from it, i.e., there is a mother-relation 
to the person. Death is replaced in the dream by taking a 
journey, riding in a train; being dead, by various darksome, 
timid suggestions; nakedness, by clothes and uniforms. You see 
here how the lines between symbolic and suggestive representa 
tion merge one into another. 

In contrast to the paucity of this enumeration, it is a striking 
fact that the objects and subject matter of another sphere are 
represented by an extraordinarily rich symbolism. This is the 
sphere of the sexual life, the genitals, the sex processes and 
sexual intercourse. The great majority of symbols in the dream 
are sex symbols. A remarkable disproportion results from this 
fact. The designated subject matters are few, their symbols 
extraordinarily profuse, so that each of these objects can be 
expressed by any number of symbols of almost equal value. In 
the interpretation something is disclosed that arouses universal 
objection. The symbol interpretations, in contrast to the many- 
sidedness of the dream representations, are very monotonous 
this displeases all who deal with them; but what is one to do? 

Since this is the first time in these lectures that we speak of 
the sexual life, I must tell you the manner in which I intend to 
handle this theme. Psychoanalysis sees no reason for hiding 
matters or treating them by innuendo, finds no necessity of being 
ashamed of dealing with this important subject, believes it is 
proper and decent to call everything by its correct name, and 
hopes most effectively in this manner to ward off disturbing or 
salacious thoughts. The fact that I am talking before a mixed 
audience can make no difference on this point. Just as there is 
no special knowledge either for the Delphic oracle or for flappers, 
so the ladies present among you have, by their appearance in 
this lecture hall, made it clear that they wish to be considered 
on the same basis as the men. 

The dream has a number of representations for the male 
genital that may be called symbolic, and in which the similarity 
of the comparison is, for the most part, very enlightening. In 
the first place, the holy figure 3 is a symbolical substitute for 
the entire male genital. The more conspicuous and more inter- 
esting part of the genital to both sexes, the male organ, has 
symbolical substitute in objects of like form, those which are 

Symbolism in the Dream 127 

long and upright, such as sticks, umbrellas, poles, trees, etc. 
It is also symbolized by objects that have the characteristic, in 
common with it, of penetration into the body and consequent 
injury, hence pointed weapons of every type, knives, daggers, 
lances, swords, and in the same manner firearms, guns, pistols 
and the revolver, which is so suitable because of its shape. In 
the troubled dream of the young girl, pursuit by a man with 
a knife or a firearm plays a big role. This, probably the most 
frequent dream symbolism, is easily translatable. Easily com- 
prehensible, too, is the substitution for the male member of 
objects out of which water flows : faucets, water cans, fountains, 
as well as its representation by other objects that have the power 
of elongation, such as hanging lamps, collapsible pencils, etc. 
That pencils, quills, nail files, hammers and other instruments 
are undoubtedly male symbols is a fact connected with a con- 
ception of the organ, which likewise is not far to seek. 

The extraordinary characteristic of the member of being able 
to raise itself against the force of gravity, one of the phenomena 
of erection, leads to symbolic representations by balloons, aero- 
planes, and more recently, Zeppelins. The dream has another 
far more expressive way of symbolizing erection. It makes the 
sex organ the essential part of the whole person and pictures 
the person himself as flying. Do not feel disturbed because the 
dreams of flying, often so beautiful, and which we all have had, 
must be interpreted as dreams of general sexual excitement, as 
erection dreams. P. Federn, among the psychoanalytical stu- 
dents, has confirmed this interpretation beyond any doubt, and 
even Hourly Void, much praised for his sobriety, who carried 
>n his dream experiments with artificial positions of the arms 
and legs, and who was really opposed to psychoanalysis per- 
haps knew nothing about psychoanalysis has come to the same 
conclusion as a result of his research. It is no objection to this 
conclusion that women may have the same dreams of flying. 
Remember that our dreams act as wish-fulfillments, and that 
the wish to be a man is often present in women, consciously or 
unconsciously. And the fact that it is possible for a woman 
to realize this wish by the same sensation as a man does, will 
not mislead anyone acquainted with anatomy. There is a small 
organ in the genitals of a woman similar to that of the male, 
and this small organ, the clitoris, even in childhood, and in the 

128 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

years before sexual intercourse, plays the same role as does the 
large organ of the male. 

To the less comprehensible male sex-symbols belong certain 
reptiles and fish, notably the famous symbol of the snake. Why 
hats and cloaks should have been turned to the same use is 
certainly difficult to discover, but their symbolic meaning leaves 
no room for doubt. And finally the question may be raised 
whether possibly the substitution of some other member as a 
representation for the male organ may not be regarded as sym- 
bolic. I believe that one is forced to this conclusion by the 
context and by the female counterparts. 

The female genital is symbolically represented by all those 
objects which share its peculiarity of enclosing a space capable 
of being filled by something viz., by pits, caves, and hollows, 
by pitchers and bottles, by boxes and trunks, jars, cases, pockets, 
etc. The ship, too, belongs in this category. Many symbols 
represent the womb of the mother rather than the female genital, 
as wardrobes, stoves, and primarily a room. The room-sym- 
bolism is related to the house-symbol, doors and entrances again 
become symbolic of the genital opening. But materials, too, 
are symbols of the woman wood, paper, and objects that are 
made of these materials, such as tables and books. Of animals, 
at least the snail and mussel are unmistakably recognizable as 
symbols for the female ; of parts of the body the mouth takes the 
place of the genital opening, while churches and chapels are 
structural symbolisms. As you see, all of these symbols are not 
equally comprehensible. 

The breasts must be included in the genitals, and like the 
larger hemispheres of the female body are represented by 
apples, peaches and fruits in general. The pubic hair growth 
of both sexes appears in the dream as woods and bushes. The 
complicated topography of the female genitals accounts for the 
fact that they are often represented as scenes with cliffs, woods 
and water, while the imposing mechanism of the male sex ap- 
paratus leads to the use of all manner of very complicated 
machinery, difficult to describe. 

A noteworthy symbol of the female genital is also the jewel' 
casket; jewels and treasure are also representatives of the be- 
loved person in the dream; sweets frequently occur as repre- 
sentatives of sexual delights. The satisfaction in one's own 

Symbolism in the Dream 129 

genital is suggested by all types of play, in which may be 
included piano-playing. Exquisite symbolic representations of 
onanism are sliding and coasting as well as tearing off a, branch. 
A particularly remarkable dream symbol is that of having one's 
teeth fall out, or having them pulled. Certainly its most im- 
mediate interpretation is castration as a punishment for onanism. 
Special representations for the relations of the sexes are less 
numerous in the dream than we might have expected from the 
foregoing. Ehythmic activities, such as dancing, riding and 
climbing may be mentioned, also harrowing experiences, such as 
being run over. One may include certain manual activities, and, 
of course, being threatened with weapons. 

You must not imagine that either the use or the translation 
of these symbols is entirely simple. All manner of unexpected 
things are continually happening. For example, it seems hardly 
believable that in these symbolic representations the sex differ- 
ences are not always sharply distinguished. Many symbols rep- 
resent a genital in general, regardless of whether male or 
female, e.g., the little child, the small son or daughter. It some- 
times occurs that a predominantly male symbol is used for a 
female genital, or vice versa. This is not understood until one 
has acquired an insight into the development of the sexual repre- 
sentations of mankind. In many instances this double meaning 
of symbols may be only apparent; the most striking of the 
symbols, such as weapons, pockets and boxes are excluded from 
this bisexual usage. 

I should now like to give a summary, from the point of view 
of the symbols rather than of the thing represented, of the 
field out of which the sex symbols are for the most part taken, 
and then to make a few remarks about the symbols which have 
points in common that are not understood. An obscure symbol 
of this type is the hat, perhaps headdress on the whole, and is 
usually employed as a male representation, though at times as 
a female. In the same way the cloak represents a man, perhaps 
not always the genital aspect. You are at liberty to ask, why T 
The cravat, which is suspended and is not worn by women, is 
an unmistakable male symbol. White laundry, all linen, in fact, 
is female. Dresses, uniforms are, as we have already seen, sub- 
stitutes for nakedness, for body-formation ; the shoe or slipper 
is a female genital. Tables and wood have already been men- 

130 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

tioned as puzzling but undoubtedly female symbols. Ladders, 
ascents, steps in relation to their mounting, are certainly sym- 
bols of sexual intercourse. On closer consideration we see that 
they have the rhythm of walking as a common characteristic; 
perhaps, too, the heightening of excitement and the shortening 
of the breath, the higher one mounts. 

We have already spoken of natural scenery as a representation 
of the female genitals. Mountains and cliffs are symbols of the 
male organ ; the garden a frequent symbol of the female genitals. 
Fruit does not stand for the child, but for the breasts. Wild 
animals signify sensually aroused persons, or further, base im- 
pulses, passions. Blossoms and flowers represent the female 
genitals, or more particularly, virginity. Do not forget that the 
blossoms are really the genitals of the plants. 

We already know the room as a symbol. The representation 
may be extended in that the windows, entrances and exits of 
the room take on the meaning of the body openings. Whether 
the room is open or closed is a part of this symbolism, and the 
key that opens it is an unmistakable male symbol. 

This is the material of dream symbolism. It is not complete 
and might be deepened as well as extended. But I am of the 
opinion it will seem more than enough to you, perhaps will make 
you reluctant. You will ask, "Do I really live in the midst 
of sex symbols? Are all the objects that surround me, all the 
clothes I put on, all the things that I touch, always sex symbols, 
and nothing else?" There really are sufficient grounds for 
such questions, and the first is, "Where, in fact, are we to find 
the meaning of these dream symbols if the dreamer himself can 
give no information concerning them, or at best can give only 
incomplete information ? ' ' 

My answer is: "From many widely different sources, from 
fairy tales and myths, jokes and farces, from folklore, that is, 
the knowledge of the customs, usages, sayings and songs of 
peoples, from the poetic and vulgar language. Everywhere we 
find the same symbolism and in many of these instances we 
understand them without further information. If we follow up 
each of these sources separately we shall find so many parallels 
to the dream symbolism that we must believe in the correctness 
of our interpretations. ' ' 

The human body, we have said, is, according to Schemer, 

Symbolism in the Dream 131 

frequently symbolized in the dream by the house. Continuing 
this representation, the windows, doors and entrances are the 
entrances into the body cavities, the facades are smooth or pro- 
vided with balconies and projections to which to hold. The 
same symbolism is to be found in our daily speech when we 
greet a good friend as "old house" or when we say of someone, 
"We'll hit him in the belfry/' or maintain of another that he's 
not quite right in the upper story. In anatomy the body 
openings are sometimes called the body-portals. 

The fact that we meet our parents in the dream as imperial 
or royal persons is at first surprising. But it has its parallel 
in the fairy tale. Doesn't it begin to dawn upon us that the 
many fairy tales which begin "Once upon a time there was a 
king and a queen" intend nothing else than, "Once there was 
a father and a mother f" In our families we refer to our 
children as princes, the eldest as the crown-prince. The king 
usually calls himself the father of the country. We playfully 
designate little children as worms, and say, sympathetically, 
"poor little worm." 

Let us return to the symbolism of the house. When we use the 
projections of the house to hold ourselves on to in the dream, 
are we not reminded of the familiar colloquialism about persons 
with well-developed breasts : "She has something to hold on to"1 
The folk express this in still another way when it says, * ' there 's 
lots of wood in front of her house"; as though it wished to come 
to the aid of our interpretation that wood is a feminine, maternal 

In addition to wood there are others. We might not under- 
stand how this material has come to be a substitute for the 
maternal, the feminine. Here our comparison of languages may 
be helpful. The German word Holz (wood) is said to be 
from the same stem as the Greek word, v\y, which means stuff, 
raw material. This is an example of the case, not entirely un- 
usual, where a general word for material finally is exclusively 
used for some special material. There is an island in the ocean, 
known by the naire of Madeira. The Portuguese gave it this 
name at the time of its discovery because it was at that time 
entirely covered with forests, for in the language of the Portu- 
guese, Madeira means wood. You will recognize, however, that 
Madeira is nothing else than the slightly changed Latin word 

132 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

nateria which again has the general meaning of material. 
Material is derived from mater, mother. The material out of 
which something is made, is at the same time its mother-part. 
In the symbolic use of wood for woman, mother, this ancient 
conception still lives. 

Birth is regularly expressed in dreams by some connection 
with water; one plunges into the water, or comes out of the 
water, which means one gives birth to, or is born. Now let us 
not forget that this symbol may refer in two ways to the truths 
of evolutionary history. Not alone have all land-mammals, 
including the ancestors of man, developed out of water animals 
this is the ultimate fact but every single mammal, every human 
being, lived the first part of his existence in the water namely, 
lived in the body of his mother as an embryo in the amnotic 
fluid and came out of the water at the time of his birth. I do 
not wish to maintain that the dreamer knows this, on the con- 
trary I hold that he does not have to know The dreamer very 
likely knows some things because of the fact that he was told 
about them in his childhood, and for that very reason I maintain 
that this knowledge has played no part in the construction of 
his symbols. He was told in childhood that the stork brought 
him but where did it get him? Out of a lake, out of the well 
again, out of the water. One of my patients to whom such 
information had been given, a little count, disappeared for a 
whole afternoon. Finally he was discovered lying at the edge 
of the palace lake, his little face bent above the water and 
earnestly peering into it to see if he could not see the little 
children at the bottom. 

In the myths of the birth of the hero, which 0. Bank sub- 
mitted to comparative examination, the oldest is that of King 
Sargon of Agade, about 2800 B.C. exposure in the water and 
rescue from water play a predominating role. Rank has recog- 
nized that these are representations of birth, analogous to those 
customary in dreams. When a person in his dream rescues an- 
other from the water, the latter becomes his mother, or just 
plainly mother; in the myth a person who rescues a child out 
of the water professes herself as the real mother of the child. 
In a well-known joke the intelligent Jewish boy is asked who 
was the mother of Moses. He answered without hesitation, the 
Princess. But no, he is told, she only took him out of the water. 

Symbolism in the Dream 133 

"That's what she says," is his reply, and thereby he shows 
that he has found the correct interpretation of the myth. 

Leaving on a trip represents death in the dream. Likewise 
it is the custom in the nursery when a child asks where someone 
who has died, and whom he misses, may be, to say to him that the 
absent one has taken a trip. Again I should like to deny the 
truth of the belief that the dream symbol originates in this 
evasion used for the benefit of children. The poet makes use 
of the same symbol when he speaks of the Hereafter as "that 
undiscovered bourne from which no traveler returns. ' ' Even in 
everyday speech it is customary to refer to the last journey. 
Every person acquainted with ancient rite knows how seriously, 
for example, the Egyptians considered the portrayal of a 
journey to the land of the dead. There still exist many copies 
of the "death book" which was given to the mummy for this 
journey as a sort of Baedeker. Since the burial places have been 
separated from the living quarters, the last journey of the dead 
person has become a reality. 

In the same manner the genital symbolism is just as little 
peculiar to the dream alone. Every one of you has perhaps 
at some time or other been so unkind as to call some woman an 
"old casket" without perhaps being aware that he was using a 
genital symbol. In the New Testament one may read "Woman 
is a weak vessel." The Holy Scriptures of the Jews, so nearly 
poetic in their style, are filled with sex-symbolic expressions 
which have not always been correctly understood, and the true 
construction of which, in the Song of Songs, for example, has led 
to many misunderstandings. In the later Hebraic literature the 
representation of woman as a house, the door taking the place of 
the sex opening, is very widespread. The man complains, for 
instance, when he discovers a lack of virginity, that he has found 
the door open. The symbol of the table for woman is also known 
to this literature. The woman says of her husband, "I set the 
table for him, but he upset it." Lame children are supposed 
to result from the fact that the man has overturned the table. I 
take these examples from a work by L. Levy of Briinn, The 
Sexual Symbolism of the Bible and the Talmud. 

That ships, too, represent women in dreams is a belief derived 
from the etymologists, who maintain "ship" was originally the 
name of an earthen vessel and is the same word as Schaff 

134 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

(to create). The Greek myth of Periander of Corinth and his 
wife Melissa is proof that the stove or oven is a woman, and a 
womb. When, according to Herodotus, the tyrant entreated 
the shade of his beloved wife, whom, however, he had murdered 
in a fit of jealousy, for some sign of its identity, the deceased 
identified herself by the reminder that he, Periander, had thrust 
his bread into a cold oven, as a disguise for an occurrence that 
could have been known to no other person. In the Anthropo- 
phyteia published by F. S. Krauss, an indispensable source book 
for everything that has to do with the sex life of nations, we 
read that in a certain German region it is commonly said of a 
woman who has just been delivered of a child, "Her oven has 
caved in." The making of a fire and everything connected 
therewith is filled through and through with sex symbolism. 
The flame is always the male genital, the fireplace, the hearth, 
is the womb of the woman. 

If you have often wondered why it is that landscapes are so 
often used to represent the female genitals in the dream, then 
let the mythologist teach you the role Mother Earth has played 
in the symbolisms and cults of ancient times. You may be 
tempted to say that a room represents a woman in the dream 
because of the German colloquialism which uses the term Frauen- 
zimmer instead of Frau, in other words, it substitutes for the 
human person the idea of that room that is set aside for her 
exclusive use. In like manner we speak of the Sublim Porte, 
and mean the Sultan and his government; furthermore, the 
name of the ancient Egyptian ruler, Pharaoh, means nothing 
other than "great court room." (In the ancient Orient the court 
yards between the double gates of the town were the gathering 
places of the people, in the same manner as the market place 
was in the classical world.) What I mean is, this derivation is 
far too superficial. It seems more probable to me that the room, 
as the space surrounding man, came to be the symbol of woman. 
We have seen that the house is used in such a representation; 
from mythology and poetry we may take the city, fortress, 
palace, citadel, as further symbols of woman. The question may 
easily be decided by the dreams of those persons who do not 
speak German and do not understand it. In the last few years 
my patients have been predominantly foreign-language speak- 
ing, and I think I can recall that in their dreams as well the 

Symbolism in the Dream 135 

room represents woman, even where they had no analogous 
usages in their languages. There are still other signs which 
show that the symbolization is not limited by the bounds of 
language, a fact that even the old dream investigator, Schubert 
(1862) maintained. Since none of my dreamers were totally 
ignorant of German I must leave this differentiation to those 
psychoanalysts who can gather examples in other lands where 
the people speak but one language. 

Among the symbol-representations of the male genital there 
is scarcely one that does not recur in jokes or in vulgar or 
poetical usage, especially among the old classical poets. Not 
alone do those symbols commonly met with in dreams appear 
here, but also new ones, e.g., the working materials of various 
performances, foremost of which is the incantation. Further- 
more, we approach in the symbolic representation of the male a 
very extended and much discussed province, which we shall 
avoid for economic reasons. I should like to make a few remarks, 
however, about one of the unclassified symbols the figure 3. 
Whether or not this figure derives its holiness from its symbolic 
meaning may remain undecided. But it appears certain that 
many objects which occur in nature as three-part things derive 
their use as coats-of-arms and emblems from such symbolic 
meaning, e.g., the clover, likewise the three-part French lily, 
(fleur-de-lys), and the extraordinary coats-of-arms of two such 
widely separated islands as Sicily and the Isle of Man, where 
the Triskeles (three partly bended knees, emerging from a 
central point) are merely said to be the portrayal in a different 
form of the male genitals. Copies of the male member were 
used in antiquity as the most powerful charms (Apotropaea) 
against evil influences, and this is connected with the fact that 
the lucky amulets of our own time may one and all be recognized 
as genital or sex-symbols. Let us study such a collection, worn 
in the form of little silver pendants : the four-leaf clover, a pig, 
a mushroom, a horse-shoe, a ladder, a chimney-sweep. The four- 
leaf clover, it seems, has usurped the place of the three-leaf 
clover, which is really more suitable as a symbol ; the pig is an an- 
cient symbol of fertility; the mushroom is an unquestionable 
penis symbol there are mushrooms that derive their systematic 
names from their unmistakable similarity to the male member 
(Phallus impudicus) ; the horseshoe recalls the contour of the 

136 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

female genital opening; and the chimney sweep who carries a 
ladder belongs in this company because he carries on that trade 
with which the sex-intercourse is vulgarly compared (cf. the 
Anthropophyteia) . "We have already become acquainted with 
his ladder as a sex symbol in the dream; the German usage is 
helpful here, it shows us how the verb "to mount" 1 is made use 
of in an exquisite sexual sense. We use the expressions "to run 
after women," which literally translated would be "to climb 
after women," and "an old climber." 2 In French, where "step" 
is "la marche" we find that the analogous expression for a man 
about town is "un vieux marcheur." It is apparently not 
unknown in this connection that the sexual intercourse of many 
of the larger animals requires a mounting, a climbing upon the 

The tearing off of a branch as the symbolic representation of 
onanism is not alone in keeping with the vulgar representation 
of the fact of onanism, but has far-reaching mythological paral- 
lels. Especially noteworthy, however, is the representation of 
onanism, or rather the punishment therefor, castration, by the 
falling out or pulling out of teeth, because there is a parallel 
in folk-lore which is probably known to the fewest dreamers. 
It does not seem at all questionable to me that the practice of 
circumcision common among so many peoples is an equivalent 
and a substitute for castration. And now we are informed that 
in Australia certain primitive tribes practice circumcision as a 
rite of puberty (the ceremony in honor of the boy's coming of 
age), while others, living quite near, have substituted for this act 
the striking out of a tooth. 

I end my exposition with these examples. They are only 
examples. We know more about these matters, and you may 
well imagine how much richer and how much more interesting 
such a collection would appear if made, not by amateurs like 
ourselves, but by real experts in mythology, anthropology, 
philology and folk-lore. We are compelled to draw a few con- 
clusions which cannot be exhaustive, but which give us much 
food for thought. 

In the first place, we are faced by the fact that the dreamer 
has at his disposal a symbolic means of expression of which he 

1 " steigen. ' ' 

" den Fraueu nachsteigen, " and " ein alter Steiger." 

Symbolism in the Dream 137 

is unconscious while awake, and does not recognize when he sees. 
That is as remarkable as if you should make the discovery that 
your chambermaid understands Sanskrit, although you know 
she was born in a Bohemian village and never learned the lan- 
guage. It is not easy to harmonize this fact with our psycho- 
logical views. We can only say that the dreamer's knowledge 
of symbolism is unconscious, that it is a part of his unconscious 
mental life. We make no progress with this assumption. Until 
now it was only necessary to admit of unconscious impulses, 
those about which one knew nothing, either for a period of 
time or at all times. But now we deal with something more; 
indeed, with unknown knowledge, with thought relationships, 
comparisons between unlike objects which lead to this, that one 
constant may be substituted for another. These comparisons 
are not made anew each time, but they lie ready, they are com- 
plete for all time. That is to be concluded from the fact of 
their agreement in different persons, agreement despite differ- 
ences in language. 

But whence comes the knowledge of these symbol-relation- 
ships? The usages of language cover only a small part of 
them. The dreamer is for the most part unacquainted with 
the numerous parallels from other sources; we ourselves must 
first laboriously gather them together. 

Secondly, these symbolic representations are peculiar neither 
to the dreamer nor to the dream work by means of which they 
become expressed. We have learned that mythology and fairy- 
tales make use of the same symbolism, as well as do the people 
in their sayings and songs, the ordinary language of every day, 
and poetic phantasy. The field of symbolism is an extra- 
ordinarily large one, and dream symbolism is but a small part 
thereof. It is not even expedient to approach the whole problem 
from the dream side. Many of the symbols that are used in other 
places do not occur in the dream at all, or at best only very 
seldom. Many of the dream symbols are to be found in other 
fields only very rarely, as you have seen. One gets the impres- 
sion that he is here confronted with an ancient but no longer 
existent method of expression, of which various phases, however, 
continue in different fields, one here, one there, a third, perhaps 
in a slightly altered form, in several fields. I am reminded 
of the phantasy of an interesting mental defective, who had 

138 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

imagined a fundamental language, of which all these sym- 
bolic representations were the remains. 

Thirdly, you must have noticed that symbolism in these other 
fields is by no means sex symbolism solely, while in the dream 
the symbols are used almost entirely to express sexual objects 
and processes. Nor is this easily explained. Is it possible that 
symbols originally sexual in their meaning later came to have 
other uses, and that this was the reason perhaps for the weaken- 
ing of the symbolic representation to one of another nature? 
These questions are admittedly unanswerable if one has dealt 
only with dream-symbolism. One can only adhere to the sup- 
position that there is an especially intimate connection between 
true symbols and things sexual. 

An important indication of this has been given us recently. 
A philologist, H. Sperber (Upsala) who works independently 
of psychoanalysis, advanced the theory that sexual needs have 
played the largest part in the origin and development of lan- 
guages. The first sounds served as means of communication, 
and called the sexual partner; the further development of the 
roots of speech accompanied the performance of the primitive 
man's work. This work was communal and progressed to the 
accompaniment of rhythmically repeated word sounds. In that 
way a sexual interest was transferred to the work. The primitive 
man made work acceptable at the same time that he used it as 
an equivalent and substitute for sex-activity. The word thus 
called forth by the common labor had two meanings, designating 
the sex-act as well as the equivalent labor-activity. In time 
the word became disassociated from its sexual significance and 
became fixed on this work. Generations later the same thing 
happened to a new word that once had sexual significance and 
came to be used for a new type of work. In this manner a 
number of word-roots were formed, all of sexual origin, and all 
of which had lost their sexual significance. If the description 
sketched here approximates the truth, it opens up the possibility 
for an understanding of the dream symbolism. "We can under- 
stand how it is that in the dream, which preserves something 
of these most ancient conditions, there are so extraordinarily 
many symbols for the sexual, and why, in general, weapons 
and implements always stand for the male, materials and things 
tnanufactured, for the female. Symbolic relationships would be 

Symbolism in the Dream 139 

the remnants of the old word-identity; things which once were 
called by the same names as the genitals can now appear in 
the dream as symbols for them. 

From our parallels to dream symbolization you may also 
learn to appreciate what is the character of psychoanalysis which 
makes it a subject of general interest, which is true of neither 
psychology nor psychiatry. Psychoanalytic work connects with 
so many other scientific subjects, the investigation of which 
promises the most pertinent discoveries, with mythology, with 
folk-lore, with racial psychology and with religion. You will 
understand how a journal can have grown on psychoanalytic 
goil, the sole purpose of which is the furtherance of these re- 
lationships. This is the Imago founded in 1912 and edited 
by Hanns Sachs and Otto Rank. In all of these relations, psy- 
choanalysis is first and foremost the giving, less often the re- 
ceiving, part. Indeed it derives benefit from the fact that its 
unusual teachings are substantiated by their recurrence in other 
fields, but on the whole it is psychoanalysis that provides the 
technical procedure and the point of view, the use of which will 
prove fruitful in those other fields. The psychic life of the 
human individual provides us, upon psychoanalytic investiga- 
tion, with explanations with which we are able to solve many 
riddles in the life of humanity, or at least show these riddles 
in their proper light. 

Furthermore, I have not even told you under what conditions 
we are able to get the deepest insight into that suppositious 
"fundamental language," or from which field we gain the most 
information. So long as you do not know this you cannot ap- 
preciate the entire significance of the subject. This field is the 
neurotic, its materials, the symptoms and other expressions of 
the nervous patient, for the explanation and treatment of which 
psychoanalysis was devised. 

My fourth point of view returns to our premise and connects 
up with our prescribed course. We said, even if there were 
no such thing as dream censorship, the dream would still be 
hard to understand, for we would then be confronted with the 
task of translating the symbol-language of the dream into the 
thought of our waking hours. Symbolism is a second and 
independent item of dream distortion, in addition to dream 
censorship. It is not a far cry to suppose that it is convenient 

140 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

for the dream censorship to make use of symbolism since both 
lead to the same end, to making the dream strange and incom- 

Whether or not in the further study of the dream we shall 
hit upon a new item that influences dream distortion, remains 
to be seen. I should not like to leave the subject of dream 
symbolism without once more touching upon the curious fact 
that it arouses such strong opposition in the case of educated 
persons, in spite of the fact that symbolism in myth, religion, 
art and speech is undoubtedly so prevalent. Is not this again 
because of its relationship to sexuality f 


The Dream-Work 

IF you have mastered dream censorship and symbolic repre- 
sentation, you are, to be sure, not yet adept in dream distor- 
tion, but you are nevertheless in a position to understand 
most dreams. For this you employ two mutually supple- 
mentary methods, call up the associations of the dreamer until 
you have penetrated from the substitute to the actual, and from 
your own knowledge supply the meaning for the symbol. Later 
we shall discuss certain uncertainties which show themselves in 
this process. 

We are now in a position to resume work which we attempted, 
with very insufficient means at an earlier stage, when we studied 
the relation between the manifest dream elements and their 
latent actualities, and in so doing established four such main 
relationships: that of a part of the whole, that of approach 
or allusion, the symbolic relationship and plastic word repre- 
sentation. We shall now attempt the same on a larger scale, 
by comparing the manifest dream content as a whole, with the 
latent dream which we found by interpretation. 

I hope you will never again confuse these two. If you have 
achieved this, you have probably accomplished more in the 
understanding of the dream than the majority of the readers 
of my Interpretation of Dreams. Let me remind you once 
more that this process, which changes the latent into the manifest 
dream, is called dream-work. Work which proceeds in the op- 
posite direction, from the manifest dream to the latent, is our 
work of interpretation. The work of interpretation attempts 
to undo the dream-work. Infantile dreams that are recognized 
as evident wish fulfillments nevertheless have undergone some 
dream-work, namely, the transformation of the wish into reality, 
and generally, too, of thoughts into visual pictures. Here we 


142 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

need no interpretation, but only a retracing of these transf orma. 
tions. Whatever dream-work has been added to other dreams, 
we call dream distortion, and this can be annulled by our work 
of interpretation. 

The comparison of many dream interpretations has rendered 
it possible for me to give you a coherent representation of what 
the dream-work does with the material of the latent dream. I 
beg of you, however, not to expect to understand too much of 
this. It is a piece of description that should be listened to with 
calm attention. 

The first process of the dream-work is condensation. By this 
we understand that the manifest dream has a smaller content 
than the latent one, that is, it is a sort of abbreviated trans- 
lation of the latter. Condensation may occasionally be absent, 
but as a rule it is present, often to a very high degree. The 
opposite is never true, that is, it never occurs that the manifest 
dream is more extensive in scope and content than the latent. 
Condensation occurs in the following ways: 1. Certain latent 
elements are entirely omitted ; 2. only a fragment of the many 
complexes of the latent dream is carried over into the manifest 
dream; 3. latent elements that have something in common 
are collected for the manifest dream and are fused into a whole. 

If you wish, you may reserve the term "condensation" for 
this last process alone. Its effects are particularly easy to 
demonstrate. From your own dreams you will doubtless recall 
the fusion of several persons into one. Such a compound person 
probably looks like A., is dressed like B., does something that 
one remembers of C., but in spite of this one is conscious that 
he is really D. By means of this compound formation something 
common to all four people is especially emphasized. One can 
make a compound formation of events and of places in the same 
way as of people, provided always that the single events and 
localities have something in common which the latent dream 
emphasizes. It is a sort of new and fleeting concept of forma- 
tion, with the common element as its kernel. This jumble of 
details that has been fused together regularly results in a vague 
indistinct picture, as though you had taken several pictures 
on the same film. 

The shaping of such compound formations must be of great 
importance to the dream-work, for we can prove, (by the choice 

The Dream- Work 143 

of a verbal expression for a thought, for instance) that the 
common elements mentioned above are purposely manufactured 
where they originally do not exist. "We have already become 
acquainted with such condensation and compound formations; 
they played an important part in the origin of certain cases of 
slips of the tongue. You recall the young man who wished to 
inscort a woman. Furthermore, there are jokes whose technique 
may be traced to such a condensation. But entirely aside from 
this, one may maintain that this appearance of something quite 
unknown in the dream finds its counterpart in many of the 
creations of our imagination which fuse together component 
parts that do not belong together in experience, as for example 
the centaurs, and the fabulous animals of old mythology or of 
Boecklin's pictures. For creative imagination can invent 
nothing new whatsoever, it can only put together certain details 
normally alien to one another. The peculiar thing, however, 
about the procedure of the dream-work is the following: The 
material at the disposal of the dream-work consists of thoughts, 
thoughts which may be offensive and unacceptable, but which 
are nevertheless correctly formed and expressed. These thoughts 
are transformed into something else by the dream-work, and it is 
remarkable and incomprehensible that this translation, this 
rendering, as it were, into another script or language, employs 
the methods of condensation and combination. For a translation 
usually strives to respect the discriminations expressed in the 
text, and to differentiate similar things. The dream-work, on 
the contrary, tries to fuse two diff erent thoughts by looking, just 
as the joke does, for an ambiguous word which shall act as a 
connecting link between the two thoughts. One need not attempt 
to understand this feature of the case at once, but it may become 
significant for the conception of the dream-work. 

Although condensation renders the dream opaque, one does 
not get the impression that it is an effect of dream censorship. 
One prefers to trace it back to mechanical or economic con- 
ditions ; but censorship undoubtedly has a share in the process. 

The results of condensation may be quite extraordinary. 
With its help, it becomes possible at times to collect quite un- 
related latent thought processes into one manifest dream, so 
that one can arrive at an apparently adequate interpretation, 
and at the same time conceive a possible further interpretation. 

144 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

The consequence of condensation for the relation between 
latent and manifest dreams is the fact that no simple relations 
can exist between the elements of the one and the other. A 
manifest element corresponds simultaneously to several latent 
ones, and vice versa, a latent element may partake of several 
manifest ones, an interlacing, as it were. In the interpretation 
of the dream it also becomes evident that the associations to a 
single element do not necessarily follow one another in orderly 
sequence. Often we must wait until the entire dream is inter- 

Dream-work therefore accomplishes a very unusual sort of 
transcription of dream thoughts, not a translation word for 
word, or sign for sign, not a selection according to a set rule, 
as if all the consonants of a word were given and the vowels 
omitted ; nor is it what we might call substitution, namely, the 
choice of one element to take the place of several others. It 
is something very different and much more complicated. 

The second process of the dream-work is displacement. For- 
tunately we are already prepared for this, since we know that it 
is entirely the work of dream censorship. The two evidences of 
this are firstly, that a latent element is not replaced by one of 
its constituent parts but by something further removed from it, 
that is, by a sort of allusion ; secondly, that the psychic accent 
is transferred from an important element to another that is 
unimportant, so that the dream centers elsewhere and seems 

Substitution by allusion is known to our conscious thinking 
also, but with a difference. In conscious thinking the allusion 
must be easily intelligible, and the substitute must bear a rela- 
tion to the actual content. Jokes, too, often make use of allusion ; 
they let the condition of content associations slide and replace 
it by unusual external associations, such as resemblances in 
sound, ambiguity of words, etc. They retain, however, the 
condition of intelligibility; the joke would lose all its effect if 
the allusion could not be traced back to the actual without any 
effort whatsoever. The allusion of displacement has freed itself 
of both these limitations. Its connection with the element which 
it replaces is most external and remote, is unintelligible for this 
reason, and if it is retraced, its interpretation gives the impres- 
sion of an unsuccessful joke or of a forced, far-fetched explana- 

The Dream- Work 145 

tion. For the dream censor has only then accomplished its pur- 
pose, when it has made the path of return from the allusion 
to the original undiscoverable. 

The displacement of emphasis is unheard of as a means of 
expressing thoughts. In conscious thinking we occasionally 
admit it to gain a comic effect. I can probably give you an 
idea of the confusion which this produces by reminding you 
of the story of the blacksmith who had committed a capital 
crime. The court decided that the penalty for the crime must 
be paid, but since he was the only blacksmith in the village 
and therefore indispensable, while there were three tailors, one 
of the latter was hung in his stead. 

The third process of the dream-work is the most interesting 
from a psychological point of view. It consists of the translation 
of thoughts into visual images. Let us bear in mind that by no 
means all dream thoughts undergo this translation; many of 
them retain their form and appear in the manifest dream also 
as thought or consciousness; moreover, visual images are not 
the only form into which thoughts are translated. They are, 
however, the foundation of the dream fabric; this part of the 
dream work is, as we already know, the second most constant, 
and for single dream elements we have already learned to know 
"plastic word representation." 

It is evident that this process is not simple. In order to get 
an idea of its difficulties you must pretend that you have under- 
taken the task of replacing a political editorial in a newspaper 
by a series of illustrations, that you have suffered an atavistic 
return from the use of the alphabet to ideographic writing. 
Whatever persons or concrete events occur in this article you 
will be able to replace easily by pictures, perhaps to your ad- 
vantage, but you will meet with difficulties in the representation 
of all abstract words and all parts of speech denoting thought 
relationships, such as particles, conjunctions, etc. With the 
abstract words you could use all sorts of artifices. You will, 
for instance, try to change the text of the article into different 
words which may sound unusual, but whose components will be 
more concrete and more adapted to representation. You will 
then recall that most abstract words were concrete before their 
meaning paled, and will therefore go back to the original con- 
crete significance of these words as often as possible, and so you 

146 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

will be glad to learn that you can represent the "possession" 
of an object by the actual physical straddling of it. 1 The dream 
work does the same thing. Under such circumstances you can 
hardly demand accuracy of representation. You will also have 
to allow the dream-work to replace an element that is as hard 
to depict as for instance, broken faith, by another kind of 
rupture, a broken leg. 2 In this way you will be able to smooth 
away to some extent the crudity of imagery when the latter is 
endeavoring to replace word expression. 

In the representation of parts of speech that denote thought 
relations, such as because, therefore, "but, etc., you have no such 
aids; these constituent parts of the text will therefore be lost 
in your translation into images. In the same way, the dream- 
work resolves the content of the dream thought into its raw 

1 ' ' besitzen, ' ' to straddle. 

* While revising these pages I chanced upon a newspaper article that 
I quote here as an unexpected supplement to the above lines. 


Mrs. Anna M. the wife of a soldier in the reserve accused Mrs. Clemen- 
tine C. of being untrue to her husband. The accusation reads that Mrs. C. 
had carried on an illicit relationship with Karl M. while her own husband 
was on the battlefield, from which he even sent her 70 Kronen a month. 
Mrs. C. had received quite a lot of money from the husband of the plain- 
tiff, while she and her children had to live in hunger and in misery. 
Friends of her husband had told her that Mrs. C. had visited inns with 
M. and had caroused there until late at night. The accused had even 
asked the husband of the plaintiff before several infantrymen whether 
he would not soon get a divorce from his "old woman" and live with 
her. Mrs. C. 's housekeeper had also repeatedly seen the husband of the 
plaintiff in her (Mrs. C.'s) apartment, in complete negligee. 

Yesterday Mrs. C. denied before a judge in Leopoldstadt that she even 
knew M ; there could be no question of intimate relation between them. 

The witness, Albertine M., however, testified that Mrs. C. had kissed 
the husband of the plaintiff and that she had surprised them at it. 

When M. was called as a witness in an earlier proceeding he had denied 
any intimate relation to the accused. Yesterday the judge received a 
letter in which the witness retracts the statement he made in the first pro- 
ceeding and admits that he had carried on a love affair with Mrs. C., 
until last June. He says that he only denied this relationship in the 
former proceeding for the sake of the accused because before the pro- 
ceeding she had come to him and begged on her knees that he should save 
her and not confess. " To-day," wrote the witness, " I felt impelled to 
make a full confession to the court, since I have ~brolcen my left arm and 
this appears to me as the punishment of God for my transgression." 

The judge maintained the penal offense had already become null and 
void, whereupon the plaintiff withdre-v her accusation and the liberation 
of the accused followed. 

The Dream- Work 147 

material of objects and activities. You may be satisfied if the 
possibility is vouchsafed you to suggest certain relations, not 
representable in themselves, in a more detailed elaboration of 
the image. In quite the same way the dream-work succeeds in 
expressing much of the content of the latent dream thought in 
the formal peculiarities of the manifest dream, in its clearness 
or vagueness, in its division into several parts, etc. The number 
of fragmentary dreams into which the dream is divided corres- 
ponds as a rule to the number of main themes, of thought 
sequences in the latent dream ; a short preliminary dream often 
stands as an introduction or a motivation to the complementary 
dream which follows ; a subordinate clause in dream thought is 
represented in the manifest dream as an interpolated change of 
scene, etc. The form of the dream is itself, therefore, by no 
means without significance and challenges interpretation. Dif- 
ferent dreams of the same night often have the same meaning, 
and testify to an increasing effort to control a stimulus of 
growing urgency. In a single dream a particularly troublesome 
element may be represented by "duplicates," that is, by numer- 
ous symbols. 

By continually comparing dream thought with the manifest 
dream that replaces it, we learn all sorts of things for which 
we were not prepared, as for instance, the fact that even the 
nonsense and absurdity of the dream have meaning. Yes, on 
this point the opposition between the medical and psycho- 
analytic conception of the dream reaches a climax not previously 
achieved. According to the former, the dream is senseless be- 
cause the dreaming psychic activity has lost all power of critical 
judgment; according to our theory, on the other hand, the 
dream becomes senseless, whenever a critical judgment, contained 
in the dream thought, wishes to express the opinion: "It is 
nonsense." The dream which you all know, about the visit to 
the theatre (three tickets 1 Fl. 50 Kr.) is a good example of this. 
The opinion expressed here is: "It was nonsense to marry so 

In the same way, we discover in interpretation what is the 
significance of the doubts and uncertainties so often expressed 
by the dreamer as to whether a certain element really occurred 
in the dream ; whether it was this or something else. As a rule 
these doubts and uncertainties correspond to nothing in the 

148 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

latent dream thought; they are occasioned throughout by the 
working of the dream censor and are equivalent to an unsuc- 
cessful attempt at suppression. 

One of the most surprising discoveries is the manner in which 
the dream-work deals with those things which are opposed to one 
another in the latent dream. We already know that agreements 
in the latent material are expressed in the manifest dream 
by condensations. Now oppositions are treated in exactly the 
same way as agreements and are, with special preference, ex- 
pressed by the same manifest element. An element in a manifest 
dream, capable of having an opposite, may therefore represent 
itself as well as its opposite, or may do both simultaneously; 
only the context can determine which translation is to be 
chosen. It must follow from this that the particle "no" cannot 
be represented in the dream, at least not unambiguously. 

The development of languages furnishes us with a welcome 
analogy for this surprising behavior on the part of the dream 
work. Many scholars who do research work in languages have 
maintained that in the oldest languages opposites such as 
strong, weak ; light, dark ; big, little were expressed by the same 
root word. (The Contradictory Sense of Primitive Words.)' 
In old Egyptian, ken originally meant both strong and weak. 
In conversation, misunderstanding in the use of such ambiguous 
words was avoided by the tone of voice and by accompanying 
gestures, in writing by the addition of so-called determinatives, 
that is, by a picture that was itself not meant to be expressed. 
Accordingly, if ken meant strong, the picture of an erect little 
man was placed after the alphabetical signs, if ken, weak, was 
meant, the picture of a cowering man followed. Only later, 
by slight modifications of the original word, were two designa- 
tions developed for the opposites which it denoted. In this way, 
from ken meaning both strong and weak, there was derived a 
ken, strong, and a ken, weak. It is said that not only the most 
primitive languages in their last developmental stage, but also 
the more recent ones, even the living tongues of to-day have 
retained abundant remains of this primitive opposite meaning. 
Let me give you a few illustrations of this taken from 0. Abel 

In Latin there are still such words of double meaning : 

altus high, deep, and sacer, sacred, accursed. 

The Dream- Work 149 

As examples of modifications of the same root, I cite : 

clamare to scream, clam quiet, still, secret ; 

siccus dry, succus juice. 

And from the German : 

Stimme voice, stumm dumb. 

The comparison of related tongues yields a wealth of examples : 

English: lock; German: Loch hole, Lucke gap. 

English : cleave; German : kleben to stick, to adhere. 

The English without, is to-day used to mean ''not with"; that 
"with" had the connotation of deprivation as well as that of 
apportioning, is apparent from the compounds: withdraw, 
withhold. The German wieder, again, closely resembles this. 

Another peculiarity of dream-work finds it prototype in the 
development of language. It occurred in ancient Egyptian as 
well as in other later languages that the sequence of sounds of 
the words was transposed to denote the same fundamental idea. 
The following are examples from English and German : 

Topf pot; boat tub; hurry Ruhe (rest, quiet). 

Balken (beam) Eloben (mallet) club. 

From the Latin and the German : 

capere (to seize) packen (to seize, to grasp). 

Inversions such as occur here in the single word are effected 
in a very different way by the dream-work. We already know 
the inversion of the sense, substitution by the opposite. Besides 
there are inversions of situations, of relations between two 
people, and so in dreams we are in a sort of topsy-turvy 
world. In a dream it is frequently the rabbit that shoots 
the hunter. Further inversion occurs in the sequence of events, 
so that in the dream the cause is placed after the effect. It is 
like a performance in a third-rate theatre, where the hero falls 
before the shot which kills him is fired from the wings. Or 
there are dreams in which the whole sequence of the elements 
is inverted, so that in the interpretation one must take the last 
first, and the first last, in order to obtain a meaning. You will 
recall from our study of dream symbolism that to go or fall into 
the water means the same as to come out of it, namely, to give 
birth to, or to be born, and that mounting stairs or a ladder 
means the same as going down. The advantage that dream dis- 
tortions may gain from such freedom of representation, is un- 

150 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

These features of the dream-work may be called archaic. They 
are connected with ancient systems of expression, ancient lan- 
guages and literatures, and involve the same difficulties which 
we shall deal with later in a critical connection. 

Now for some other aspects of the matter. In the dream-work 
it is plainly a question of translating the latent thoughts, ex- 
pressed in words, into psychic images, in the main, of a visual 
kind. Now our thoughts were developed from such psychic 
images ; their first material and the steps which led up to them 
were psychic impressions, or to be more exact, the memory images 
of these psychic impressions. Only later were words attached to 
these and then combined into thoughts. The dream-work there- 
fore puts the thoughts through a regressive treatment, that is, 
one that retraces the steps in their development. In this re- 
gression, all that has been added to the thoughts as a new 
contribution in the course of the development of the memory 
pictures must fall away. 

This, then, is the dream-work. In view of the processes that 
we have discovered about it, our interest in the manifest dream 
was forced into the background. I shall, however, devote a few 
remarks to the latter, since it is after all the only thing that is 
positively known to us. 

It is natural that the manifest dream should lose its import- 
ance for us. It must be a matter of indifference to us whether 
it is well composed or resolved into a series of disconnected single 
images. Even when its exterior seems to be significant, we know 
that it has been developed by means of dream distortion and may 
have as little organic connection with the inner content of the 
dream as the facade of an Italian church has with its structure 
and ground plan. At other times this facade of the dream, too, 
has its significance, in that it reproduces with little or no dis- 
tortion an important part of the latent dream thought. But 
we cannot know this before we have put the dream through a 
process of interpretation and reached a decision as to what 
amount of distortion has taken place. A similar doubt pre- 
vails when two elements in the dream seem to have been brought 
into close relations to one another. This may be a valuable hint, 
suggesting that we may join together those manifest thoughts 
which correspond to the elements in the latent dream; yet at 

The Dream- Work 151 

Diner times we are convinced that what belongs together in 
thought has been torn apart in the dream. 

As a general rule we must refrain from trying to explain one 
part of the manifest dream by another, as if the dream were 
coherently conceived and pragmatically represented. At the 
most it is comparable to a Breccian stone, produced by the 
fusion of various minerals in such a way that the markings it 
shows are entirely different from those of the original mineral 
constituents. There is actually a part of the dream-work, the 
so-called secondary treatment, whose function it is to develop 
something unified, something approximately coherent from the 
final products of the dream-work. In so doing the material is 
often arranged in an entirely misleading sense and insertions 
are made wherever it seems necessary. 

On the other hand, we must not over-estimate the dream- 
work, nor attribute too much to it. The processes which we have 
enumerated tell the full tale of its functioning; beyond con- 
densing, displacing, representing plastically, and then subject- 
ing the whole to a secondary treatment, it can do nothing. 
Whatever of judgment, of criticism, of surprise, and of deduc- 
tion are to be found in the dream are not products of the 
dream-work and are only very seldom signs of afterthoughts 
about the dream, but are generally parts of the latent dream 
thought, which have passed over into the manifest dream, more 
or less modified and adapted to the context. In the matter of 
composing speeches, the dream-work can also do nothing. Ex- 
cept for a few examples, the speeches in the dream are imitations 
and combinations of speeches heard or made by oneself during 
the day, and which have been introduced into the latent thought, 
either as material or as stimuli for the dream. Neither can the 
dream pose problems ; when these are found in the dream, they 
are in the main combinations of numbers, semblances of examples 
that are quite absurd or merely copies of problems in the latent 
dream thought. Under these conditions it is not surprising 
that the interest which has attached itself to the dream-work 
is soon deflected from it to the latent dream thoughts which 
are revealed in more or less distorted form in the manifest 
dream. It is not justifiable, however, to have this change go 
so far that in a theoretical consideration one regularly substitutes 
the latent dream thought for the dream itself, and maintains 

152 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

of the latter what can hold only for the former. It is odd that 
the results of psychoanalysis should be misused for such an 
exchange. "Dream" can mean nothing but the result of the 
dream-work, that is, the form into which the latent dream 
thoughts have been translated by the dream-work. 

Dream-work is a process of a very peculiar sort, the like of 
which has hitherto not been discovered in psychic life. These 
condensations, displacements, regressive translations of thoughts 
into pictures, are new discoveries which richly repay our efforts 
in the field of psychoanalysis. You will realize from the parallel 
to the dream-work, what connections psychoanalytic studies 
will reveal with other fields, especially with the development of 
speech and thought. You can only surmise the further sig- 
nificance of these connections when you hear that the mechanism 
of the dream structure is the model for the origin of neurotic 

I know too that we cannot as yet estimate the entire con- 
tribution that this work has made to psychology. We shall only 
indicate the new proofs that have been given of the existence 
of unconscious psychic acts for such are the latent dream 
thoughts and the unexpectedly wide approach to the under- 
standing of the unconscious psychic life that dream interpreta- 
tion opens up to us. 

The time has probably come, however, to illustrate separately, 
by various little examples of dreams, the connected facts for 
which you have been prepared. 



Analysis of Sample Dreams 

I HOPE you will not be disappointed if I again lay before 
you excerpts from dream analyses instead of inviting you 
to participate in the interpretation of a beautiful long 
dream. You will say that after so much preparation you 
ought to have this right, and that after the successful interpreta- 
tion of so many thousands of dreams it should long ago have be- 
come possible to assemble a collection of excellent dream samples 
with which we could demonstrate all our assertions concerning 
dream-work and dream thoughts. Yes, but the difficulties which 
stand in the way of the fulfillment of your wish are too many. 

First of all, I must confess to you that no one practices dream 
interpretation as his main occupation. When does one interpret 
dreams? Occasionally one can occupy himself with the dream 
of some friend, without any special purpose, or else he may 
work with his own dreams for a time in order to school himself 
in psychoanalytic method; most often, however, one deals with 
the dreams of nervous individuals who are undergoing analytic 
treatment. These latter dreams are excellent material, and in no 
way inferior to those of normal persons, but one is forced by the 
technique of the treatment to subordinate dream analysis to 
therapeutic aims and to pass over a large number of dreams 
after having derived something from them that is of use in the 
treatment. Many dreams we meet with during the treatment 
are, as a matter of fact, impossible of complete analysis. Since 
they spring from the total mass of psychic material which is 
still unknown to us, their understanding becomes possible only 
after the completion of the cure. Besides, to tell you such 
dreams would necessitate the disclosure of all the secrets con- 
cerning a neurosis. That will not do for us, since we have taken 
the dream as preparation for the study of the neuroses. 


154 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

I know you would gladly leave this material, and would prefer 
to hear the dreams of healthy persons, or your own dreams 
explained. But that is impossible because of the content of 
these dreams. One can expose neither himself, nor another 
whose confidence he has won, so inconsiderately as would result 
from a thorough interpretation of his dreams which, as you 
already know, refer to the most intimate things of his person- 
ality, In addition to this difficulty, caused by the nature of 
the material, there is another that must be considered when 
communicating a dream. You know the dream seems strange 
even to the dreamer himself, let alone to one who does not know 
the dreamer. Our literature is not poor in good and detailed 
dream analyses. I myself have published some in connection 
with case histories. Perhaps the best example of a dream inter- 
pretation is the one published by 0. Rank, being two related 
dreams of a young girl, covering about two pages of print, the 
analysis covering seventy-six pages. I would need about a 
whole semester in order to take you through such a task. If 
we select a longer or more markedly distorted dream, we have 
to make so many explanations, we must make use of so many- 
free associations and recollections, must go into so many by- 
paths, that a lecture on the subject would be entirely unsatis- 
factory and inconclusive. So I must ask you to be content 
with what is more easily obtained, with the recital of small bits 
of dreams of neurotic persons, in which we may be able to 
recognize this or that isolated fact. Dream symbols are the 
most easily demonstrable, and after them, certain peculiarities 
of regressive dream representations. 1 I shall tell you why I 
considered each of the following dreams worthy of communica- 

1. A dream, consisting of only two brief pictures: "The 
dreamer's uncle is smoking a cigarette, although it is Saturday. 
A woman caresses him as though he were her child." 

In commenting on the first picture, the dreamer (a Jew) 
remarks that his uncle is a pious man who never did, and never 
would do, anything so sinful as smoking on the Sabbath. As to 
the woman of the second picture, he has no free associations 
other than his mother. These two pictures or thoughts should 

1 This highly technical concept is explained in The Interpretation of 
Preams, Chap. VII, Sec. (b) pp. 422 et seq. 

Analysis of Sample Dreams 155 

obviously be brought into connection with each other, but how ? 
Since he expressly rules out the reality of his uncle's action, 
then it is natural to interpolate an "if." "// my uncle, that 
pious man, should smoke a cigarette on Saturday, then I could 
also permit my mother's caresses." This obviously means that 
the mother's caresses are prohibited, in the same manner as is 
smoking on Saturday, to a pious Jew. You will recall, I told 
you that all relations between the dream thoughts disappear in 
the dream-work, that these relations are broken up into their 
raw material, and that it is the task of interpretation to re- 
interpolate the omitted connections. 

2. Through my publications on dreams I have become, in 
certain respects, the public consultant on matters pertaining to 
dreams, and for many years I have been receiving communica- 
tions from the most varied sources, in which dreams are related 
to me or presented to me for my judgment. I am of course 
grateful to all those persons who include with the story of the 
dream, enough material to make an interpretation possible, or 
who give such an interpretation themselves. It is in this cate- 
gory that the following dream belongs, the dream of a Munich 
physician in the year 1910. I select it because It goes to show 
how impossible of understanding a dream generally is before the 
dreamer has given us what information he has about it. I sus- 
pect that at bottom you consider the ideal dream interpretation 
that in which one simply inserts the meaning of the symbols, 
and would like to lay aside the technique of free association to 
the dream elements. I wish to disabuse your minds of this 
harmful error. 

"On July 13, 1910, toward morning, I dreamed that I was 
bicycling down a street in Tubingen, when a brown Dachshund 
tore after me and caught me by the heel. A bit further on I get 
off, seat myself on a step, and begin to beat the beast, which has 
clenched its teeth tight. (I feel no discomfort from the biting 
or the whole scene.} Two elderly ladies are sitting opposite me 
and watching me with grins on their faces. Then I wake up 
and, as so often happens to me, the whole dream becomes per- 
fectly clear to me in this moment of transition to the waking 
state.' 9 

Symbols are of little use in this case. The dreamer, however, 
informs us, ' ' I lately fell in love with a girl, just from seeing her 

156 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

on the street, but had no means of becoming acquainted with her. 
The most pleasant means might have been the Dachshund, since 
I am a great lover of animals, and also felt that the girl was in 
sympathy with this characteristic." He also adds that he re- 
peatedly interfered in the fights of scuffling dogs with great 
dexterity and frequently to the great amazement of the spec- 
tators. Thus we learn that the girl, who pleased him, was always 
accompanied by this particular dog. This girl, however, was 
disregarded in the manifest dream, and there remained only 
the dog which he associates with her. Perhaps the elderly ladies 
who simpered at him took the place of the girl. The remainder 
of what he tells us is not enough to explain this point. Riding 
a bicycle in the dream is a direct repetition of the remembered 
situation. He had never met the girl with the dog except when 
he was on his bicycle. 

3. When anyone has lost a loved one, he produces dreams of 
a special sort for a long time afterward, dreams in which the 
knowledge of death enters into the most remarkable compro- 
mises with the desire to have the deceased alive again. At one 
time the deceased is dead and yet continues to live on because 
he does not know that he is dead, and would die completely only 
if he knew it; at another time he is half dead and half alive, 
and each of these conditions has its particular signs. One cannot 
simply label these dreams nonsense, for to come to life again is 
no more impossible in the dream than, for example, it is in the 
fairy story, in which it occurs as a very frequent fate. As far 
as I have been able to analyze such dreams, I have always found 
them to be capable of a sensible solution, but that the pious wish 
to recall the deceased to life goes about expressing itself by the 
oddest methods. Let me tell you such a dream, which seems 
queer and senseless enough, and analysis of which will show 
you many of the points for which you have been prepared by 
our theoretical discussions. The dream is that of a man who 
had lost his father many years previously. 

"Father is dead, but has been exhumed and looks badly. He 
goes on living, and the dreamer does everything to prevent him 
from noticing that fact." Then the dream goes on to other 
things, apparently irrelevant. 

The father is dead, that we know. That he was exhumed is 
not really true, nor is the truth of the rest of the dream im- 

Analysis of Sample Dreams 157 

portant. But the dreamer tells us that when he came back 
from his father's funeral, one of his teeth began to ache. He 
wanted to treat this tooth according to the Jewish precept, ''If 
thy tooth offend thee, pluck it out," and betook himself to the 
dentist. But the latter said, "One does not simply pull a tooth 
out, one must have patience with it. I shall inject something to 
kill the nerve. Come again in three days and then I will take 
it out." 

"This 'taking it out','' says the dreamer suddenly, "is the 
exhuming. ' ' 

Is the dreamer right? It does not correspond exactly, only 
approximately, for the tooth is not taken out, but something that 
has died off is taken out of it. But after our other experiences 
we are probably safe in believing that the dream work is capable 
of such inaccuracies. It appears that the dreamer condensed, 
fused into one, his dead father and the tooth that was killed 
but retained. No wonder then, that in the manifest dream some- 
thing senseless results, for it is impossible for everything that is 
said of the tooth to fit the father. What is it that serves as 
something intermediate between tooth and father and makes 
this condensation possible? 

This interpretation must be correct, however, for the dreamer 
says that he is acquainted with the saying that when one dreams 
of losing a tooth it means that one is going to lose a member 
of his family. 

"We know that this popular interpretation is incorrect, or at 
least is correct only in a scurrilous sense. For that reason it is 
all the more surprising to find this theme thus touched upon in 
the background of other portions of the dream content. 

Without any further urging, the dreamer now begins to tell 
of his father's illness and death as well as of his relations with 
him. The father was sick a long time, and his care and treat- 
ment cost him, the son, much money. And yet it was never too 
much for him, he never grew impatient, never wished it might 
end soon. He boasts of his true Jewish piety toward his father, 
of rigid adherence to the Jewish precepts. But are you not 
struck by a contradiction in the thoughts of the dream? He 
had identified tooth with father. As to the tooth he wanted to 
follow the Jewish precept that carries out its own judgment, 
"pull it out if it causes pain and annoyance." He had also been 

158 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

anxious to follow the precept of the law with regard to his 
father, which in this case, however, tells him to disregard trouble 
and expense, to take all the burdens upon himself and to let no 
hostile intent arise toward the object which causes the pain. 
Would not the agreement be far more compelling if he had 
really developed feelings toward his father similar to those about 
his sick tooth ; that is, had he wished that a speedy death should 
put an end to that superfluous, painful and expensive existence ? 

I do not doubt that this was really his attitude toward his 
father during the latter 's extended illness, and that his boastful 
assurances of filial piety were intended to distract his attention 
from these recollections. Under such circumstances, the death- 
wish directed toward the parent generally becomes active, and 
disguises itself in phrases of sympathetic consideration such as, 
"It would really be a blessed release for him." But note well 
that we have here overcome an obstacle in the latent dream 
thoughts themselves. The first part of these thoughts was surely 
unconscious only temporarily, that is to say, during the dream- 
work, while the inimical feelings toward the father might have 
been permanently unconscious, dating perhaps from childhood, 
occasionally slipping into consciousness, shyly and in disguise, 
during his father 's illness. "We can assert this with even greater 
certainty of other latent thoughts which have made unmistakable 
contributions to the dream content. To be sure, none of these 
inimical feelings toward the father can be discovered in the 
dream. But when we search a childhood history for the root 
of such enmity toward the father, we recollect that fear of the 
father arises because the latter, even in the earliest years, opposes 
the boy's sex activities, just as he is ordinarily forced to oppose 
them again, after puberty, for social motives. This relation to 
the father applies also to our dreamer; there had been mixed 
with his love for him much respect and fear, having its source 
in early sex intimidation. 

From the onanism complex we can now explain the other 
parts of the manifest dream. "He looks badly" does, to be sure, 
allude to another remark of the dentist, that it looks badly to 
have a tooth missing in that place ; but at the same time it refers 
to the "looking badly" by which the young man betrayed, or 
feared to betray, his excessive sexual activity during puberty. 
It was not without lightening his own heart that the dreamer 

Analysis of Sample Dreams 159 

transposed the bad looks from himself to his father in the mani- 
fest content, an inversion of the dream work with which you are 
familiar. "He goes on living since then," disguises itself with 
the wish to have him alive again as well as with the promise 
of the dentist that the tooth will be preserved. A very subtle 
phrase, however, is the following: "The dreamer does every- 
thing to prevent him, (the father} from noticing the fact/' a 
phrase calculated to lead us to conclude that he is dead. Yet 
the only meaningful conclusion is again drawn from the onanism 
complex, where it is a matter of course for the young man to do 
everything in order to hide his sex life from his father. Re- 
member, in conclusion, that we were constantly forced to inter- 
pret the so-called tooth-ache dreams as dreams dealing with the 
subject of onanism and the punishment that is feared. 

You now see how this incomprehensible dream came into 
being, by the creation of a remarkable and misleading condensa- 
tion, by the fact that all the ideas emerge from the midst of the 
latent thought process, and by the creation of ambiguous sub- 
stitute formations for the most hidden and, at the time, most 
remote of these thoughs. 

4. We have tried repeatedly to understand those prosaic and 
banal dreams which have nothing foolish or repulsive about 
them, but which cause us to ask: "Why do we dream such un- 
important stuff?" So I shall give you a new example of this 
kind, three dreams belonging together, all of which were 
dreamed in the same night by a young woman. 

(a). "She is going through the hall of her house and strikes 
her head against the low^hanging chandelier, so that her head 

She has no reminiscence to contribute, nothing that really 
happened. The information she gives leads in quite another 
direction. "You know how badly my hair is falling out. Mother 
said to me yesterday, 'My child, if it goes on like this, you will 
have a head like the cheek of a buttock. ' ' Thus the head here 
stands for the other part of the body. We can understand the 
chandelier symbolically without other help ; all objects that can 
be lengthened are symbols of the male organ. Thus the dream 
deals with a bleeding at the lower end of the body, which results 
from its collision with the male organ. This might still be 
ambiguous; her further associations show that it has to do with 

160 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

her belief that menstrual bleeding results from sexual inter- 
course with a man, a bit of sexual theory believed by many im- 
mature girls. 

(&). "She sees a deep hole in the vineyard which she knows 
was made by pulling out a tree." Herewith her remark that 
f( she misses the tree." She means that she did not see the tree 
in the dream, but the same phrase serves to express another 
thought which symbolic interpretation makes completely certain. 
The dream deals with another bit of the infantile sex theory, 
namely, with the belief that girls originally had the same genitals 
as boys and that the later conformation resulted from castration 
(pulling out of a tree). 

(c). "She is standing in front of the drawer of her writing 
table, with which she is so familiar that she knmvs immediately 
if anybody has been through it." The writing-table drawer, like 
every drawer, chest, or box, stands for the female genital. She 
knows that one can recognize from the genital the signs of sexual 
intercourse (and, as she thinks, even of any contact at all) and 
she has long been afraid of such a conviction. I believe that 
the accent in all these dreams is to be laid upon the idea of 
knowing. She is reminded of the time of her childish sexual 
investigations, the results of which made her quite proud at 
the time. 

5. Again a little bit of symbolism. But this time I must 
first describe the psychic situation in a short preface. A man 
who spent the night with a woman describes his partner as 
one of those motherly natures whose desire for a child irresistibly 
breaks through during intercourse. The circumstances of their 
meeting, however, necessitated a precaution whereby the fertiliz- 
ing discharge of semen is kept away from the womb. Upon 
awaking after this night, the woman tells the following dream: 

" An officer with a red cap follows her on the street. She flees 
from him, runs up the staircase, and he follows after her. 
Breathlessly she reaches her apartment and slams and locks the. 
door behind her. He remains outside and as she looks through a 
peephole she sees him sitting outside on a bench and weeping." 

You undoubtedly recognize in the pursuit by an officer with 
a red cap, and the breathless stair climbing, the representation 
of the sexual act. The fact that the dreamer locks herself in 
against the pursuer may serve as an example of that inversion 

Analysis of Sample Dreams 161 

which is so frequently used in dreams, for in reality it was the 
man who withdrew before the completion of the act. In the 
same way her grief has been transposed to the partner, it is he 
who weeps in the dream, whereby the discharge of the semen is 
also indicated. 

You must surely have heard that in psychoanalysis it is always 
maintained that all dreams have a sexual meaning. Now you 
yourselves are in a position to form a judgment as to the in- 
correctness of this reproach. You have become acquainted with 
the wish-fulfillment dreams, which deal with the satisfying of 
the plainest needs, of hunger, of thirst, of longing for freedom, 
the dreams of convenience and of impatience and likewise the 
purely covetous and egoistic dreams. But that the markedly 
distorted dreams preponderantly though again not exclusively 
give expression to sex wishes, is a fact you may certainly keep 
in mind as one of the results of psychoanalytical research. 

6. I have a special motive for piling up examples of the use 
of symbols in dreams. At our first meeting I complained of 
how hard it is, when lecturing on psychoanalysis, to demonstrate 
the facts in order to awaken conviction ; and you very probably 
have come to agree with me since then. But the various asser- 
tions of psychoanalysis are so closely linked that one 's conviction 
can easily extend from one point to a larger part of the whole. 
We might say of psychoanalysis that if we give it our little 
finger it promptly demands the whole hand. Anyone who was 
convinced by the explanation of errors can no longer logically 
disbelieve in all the rest of psychoanalysis. A second equally 
accessible point of approach is furnished by dream symbolism. 
I shall give you a dream, already published, of a peasant woman, 
whose husband is a watchman and who has certainly never 
heard anything about dream symbolism and psychoanalysis. 
You may then judge for yourselves whether its explanation with 
the help of sex symbols can be called arbitrary and forced. 

"Then someone broke into her house and she called in fright 
for a watchman. But the latter had gone companionably into 
a church together with two 'beauties.' A number of steps led up 
to the church. Behind the church was a hill, and on its crest a 
thick forest. The watchman was fitted out with a helmet, gorget 
and a cloak. He had a full brown beard. The two were going 
along peacefully with the watchman, had sack-like aprons bound 

162 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

around their hips. There was a path from the church to the 
hill. This was overgrown on both sides with grass and under- 
brush that kept getting thicker and that became a regular forest 
on the crest of the hill." 

You will recognize the symbols without any difficulty. The 
male genital is represented by a trinity of persons, the female 
by a landscape with a chapel, hill and forest. Again you en- 
counter steps as the symbol of the sexual act. That which is 
called a hill in the dream has the same name in anatomy, namely, 
mons veneris, the mount of Venus. 

7. I have another dream which can be solved by means of 
inserting symbols, a dream that is remarkable and convincing 
because the dreamer himself translated all the symbols, even 
though he had had no preliminary knowledge of dream interpre- 
tation. This situation is very unusual and the conditions essen- 
tial to its occurrence are not clearly known. 

"He is going for a walk with his father in some place which 
must be the Prater,* for one can see the rotunda and before it a 
smaller building to which is anchored a captive balloon, which, 
however, seems fairly slack. His father asks him what all that 
is for; he wonders at it himself but explains it to his father. 
Then they come to a courtyard in which there lies spread out a 
big sheet of metal. His father wants to break off a big piece of it 
for himself but first looks about him to see if anyone might see 
him. He says to him that all he needs to do is to tell the inspector 
and then he can take some without more ado. There are steps 
leading from this courtyard down into a pit, the walls of which 
are upholstered with some soft material rather like a leather arm 
chair. At the end of this pit is a longish platform and then a 
new pit begins ..." 

The dreamer himself interprets as follows: "The rotunda is 
my genital, the balloon in front of it is my penis, of whose 
slackness I have been complaining." Thus one may translate 
in more detail, that the rotunda is the posterior a part of the 
body which the child regularly considers as part of the genital 
while the smaller building before it is the scrotum. In the dream 
his father asks him what all that is for ; that is to say, he asks 
the object and function of the genitals. It is easy to turn this 
situation around so that the dreamer is the one who does the 

'The principal street of Vienna. 

Analysis of Sample Dreams 163 

asking. Since no such questioning of the father ever took place 
in real life, we must think of the thought of this dream as a 
wish or consider it in the light of a supposition, ' ' If I had asked 
father for sexual enlightenment. ' ' We will find the continuation 
of this idea in another place shortly. 

The courtyard, in which the sheet metal lies spread out, is not 
to be considered primarily as symbolical but refers to the father 's 
place of business. For reasons of discretion I have substituted 
the "sheet metal" for another material with which the father 
deals, without changing anything in the literal wording of the 
dream. The dreamer entered his father's business and took 
great offense at the rather dubious practices upon which the 
profits depended to a large extent. For this reason the continua- 
tion of the above idea of the dream might be expressed as "if I 
had asked him, he would only have deceived me as he deceives 
his customers. ' ' The dreamer himself gives us the second mean- 
ing of "breaking off the metal," which serves to represent the 
commercial dishonesty. He says it means masturbation. Not 
only have we long since become familiar with this symbol, but 
the fact also is in agreement. The secrecy of masturbation is 
expressed by means of its opposite "It can be safely done 
openly." Again our expectations are fulfilled by the fact that 
masturbatory activity is referred to as the father's, just as the 
questioning was in the first scene of the dream. Upon being 
questioned he immediately gives the interpretation of the pit as 
the vagina on account of the soft upholstering of its walls. I 
will add arbitrarily that the "going down" like the more usual 
"going up" is meant to describe the sexual intercourse in the 

Such details as the fact that the first pit ends in a platform 
and then a new one begins, he explains himself as having been 
taken from his own history. He practiced intercourse for a 
while, then gave it up on account of inhibitions, and now hopes 
to be able to resume it as a result of the treatment. 

8. The two following dreams are those of a foreigner, of very 
polygamous tendencies, and I give them to you as proof for the 
claim that one's ego appears in every dream, even in those 
in which it is disguised in the manifest content. The trunks 
in the dream are a symbol for woman. 

(a). "He is to take a trip, his luggage is placed on a carriage 

164 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

to be taken to the station, and there are many trunks piled up, 
among which are two big black ones like sample trunks. He 
says, consolingly, to someone, 'Well, they are only going as far 
as the station with us.' ' 

In reality he does travel with a great deal of luggage, but he 
also brings many tales of women with him when he comes for 
treatment. The two black trunks stand for two dark women 
who play the chief part in his life at present. One of them 
wanted to travel to Vienna after him, but he telegraphed her 
not to, upon my advice. 

(&). A scene at the customs house: "A fellow traveler opens 
his trunk and says indifferently while puffing a cigarette, 
'There's nothing in here.' The customs official seems to believe 
him but delves into the trunk once more and finds something 
particularly forbidden. The traveler then says resignedly, 
'Well, there's no help for it.' ' 

He himself is the traveler, I the customs official. Though' 
otherwise very frank in his confessions, he has on this occasion 
tried to conceal from me a new relationship which he had struck 
up with a lady whom he was justified in believing that I knew. 
The painful situation of being convicted of this is transposed 
into a strange person so that he himself apparently is not present 
in the dream. 

9. The following is an example of a symbol which I have not 
yet mentioned : 

"He meets his sister in company with two friends who are 
themselves sisters. He extends his hand to both of them but not 
to his sister." 

This is no allusion to a real occurrence. His thoughts instead 
lead him back to a time when his observations made him wonder 
why a girl's breasts develop so late. The two sisters, therefore, 
are the breasts. He would have liked to touch them if only it 
had not been his sister. 

10. Let me add an example of a symbol of death in a dream : 
"He is walking with two persons whose name he knows but 

has forgotten. By the time he is awake, over a very high, steep 
iron bridge. Suddenly the two people are gone and he sees a 
ghostly man with a cap, and clad in white. He asks this man 
whether he is the telegraph messenger . . , No. Or is he a 
coachman f No. Then he goes on," and even in the dream he is 

Analysis of Sample Dreams 165 

in great fear. After waking he continues , the dream by a 
phantasy in which the iron bridge suddenly breaks, and he 
plunges into the abyss. 

When the dreamer emphasizes the fact that certain individ- 
uals in a dream are unknown, that he has forgotten their names, 
they are generally persons standing in very close relationship 
to the dreamer. This dreamer has two sisters ; if it be true, as 
his dream indicates, that he wished these two dead, then it would 
only be justice if the fear of death fell upon him for so doing. 
In connection with the telegraph messenger he remarks that such 
people always bring bad news. Judged by his uniform he might 
also have been the lamp-lighter, who, however, also extinguishes 
the lamps in other words, as the spirit of death extinguishes 
the flame of life. The coachman reminds him of Uhland 's poem 
of King Karl's ocean voyage and also of a dangerous lake trip 
with two companions in which he played the role of the king in 
the poem. In connection with the iron bridge he remembers a 
recent accident and the stupid saying "Life is a suspension 

11. The following may serve as another example of the rep- 
resentation of death in a dream: "An unknown man leaves a 
Hack bordered visiting card for him." 

12. The following dream will interest you for several reasons, 
though it is one arising from a neurotic condition among other 
things : 

"He is traveling in a train. The train stops in an open field. 
He thinks it means that there is going to be an accident, that he 
must save himself, and he goes through all the compartments of 
the train and strikes dead everyone whom he meets, conductors, 
engine drivers, etc." 

In connection with this he tells a story that one of his friends 
told him. An insane man was being transported in a private 
compartment in a certain place in Italy, but through some mis- 
take another traveler was put in the same compartment. 
The insane man murdered his fellow passenger. Thus he 
identifies himself with this insane person and bases his 
right so to do upon a compulsive idea which was then 
torturing him, namely, he must "do away with all per- 
sons who knew of his failings." But then he himself 
finds a better motivation which gave rise to the dream. The day 

166 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

before, in the theatre, he again saw the girl whom he had ex- 
pected to marry but whom he had left because she had given him 
cause for jealousy. With a capacity for intense jealousy such 
as he has, he would really be insane if he married. In other 
words, he considers her so untrustworthy that out of jealousy 
he would have to strike dead all the persons who stood in his 
way. Going through a series of rooms, of compartments in this 
case, we have already learned to recognize as the symbol of 
marriage (the opposite of monogamy). 

In connection with the train stopping in the open country and 
his fear of an accident, he tells the following: Once, when he 
was traveling in a train and it came to a sudden stop outside of 
a station, a young lady in the compartment remarked that per- 
haps there was going to be a collision, and that in that case the 
best precaution would be to pull one's legs up. But this 
"legs up" had also played a role in the many walks and excur- 
sions into the open which he had taken with the girl in that 
happy period in their first love. Thus it is a new argument for 
the idea that he would have to be crazy in order to marry her 
now. But from my knowledge of the situation I can assume 
with certainty that the wish to be as crazy as that nevertheless 
exists in him. 



Archaic Remnants and Infantilism in the Dream 

LET us revert to our conclusion that the dream-work, 
under the influence of the dream censorship, transforms 
the latent dream thoughts into some other form of 
expression. The latent thoughts are no other than the 
conscious thoughts known to us in our waking hours; the new 
mode of expression is incomprehensible to us because of its 
many-sided features. We have said it extends back to conditions 
of our intellectual development which we have long progressed 
beyond, to the language of pictures, the symbol-representations, 
perhaps to those conditions which were in force before the de- 
velopment of our language of thought. So we called the mode 
of expression of the dream-work the archaic or regressive. 

You may conclude that as a result of the deeper study of the 
dream-work we gain valuable information about the rather un- 
known beginnings of our intellectual development. I trust this 
will be true, but this work has not, up to the present time, been 
undertaken. The antiquity into which the dream-work carries 
us back is of a double aspect, firstly, the individual antiquity, 
childhood; and, secondly (in so far as every individual in his 
childhood lives over again in some more or less abbreviated 
manner the entire development of the human race), also this 
antiquity, the philogenetic. That we shall be able to differentiate 
which part of the latent psychic proceeding has its source in the 
individual, and which part in the philogenetic antiquity is not 
improbable. In this connection it appears to me, for example, 
that the symbolic relations which the individual has never 
learned are ground for the belief that they should be regarded as 
a philogenetic inheritance. 

However, this is not the only archaic characteristic of the 


168 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

dream. You probably all know from your own experiences the 
peculiar amnesia, that is, loss of memory, concerning childhood. 
I mean the fact that the first years, to the fifth, sixth or eighth, 
have not left the same traces in our memory as have later 
experiences. One meets with individual persons, to be sure, who 
can boast of a continuous memory from the very beginning to 
the present day, but the other condition, that of a gap in the 
memory, is far more frequent. I believe we have not laid 
enough stress on this fact. The child is able to speak well at the 
age of two, it soon shows that it can become adjusted to the 
most complicated psychic situations, and makes remarks which 
years later are retold to it, but which it has itself entirely for- 
gotten. Besides, the memory in the early years is more facile, 
because it is less burdened than in later years. Nor is there 
any reason for considering the memory-function as a particularly 
high or difficult psychic performance; in fact, the contrary is 
true, and you can find a good memory in persons who stand 
very low intellectually. 

As a second peculiarity closely related to the first, I must point 
out that certain well-preserved memories, for the most part 
formatively experienced, stand forth in this memory-void which 
surrounds the first years of childhood and do not justify this 
hypothesis. Our memory deals selectively with its later ma- 
terials, with impressions which come to us in later life. It 
retains the important and discards the unimportant. This is 
not true of the retained childhood memories. They do not be- 
speak necessarily important experiences of childhood, not even 
such as from the viewpoint of the child need appear of im- 
portance. They are often so banal and intrinsically so meaning- 
less that we ask ourselves in wonder why just these details have 
escaped being forgotten. I once endeavored to approach the 
riddle of childhood amnesia and the interrupted memory rem- 
nants with the help of analysis, and I arrived at the conclusion 
that in the case of the child, too, only the important has re- 
mained in the memory, except that by means of the process of 
condensation already known to you, and especially by means 
of distortion, the important is represented in the memory by 
something that appears unimportant. For this reason I have 
called these childhood memories "disguise-memories," memories 

Archaic Remnants and Infantilism 169 

used to conceal; by means of careful analysis one is able to 
develop out of them everything that is forgotten. 

In psychoanalytic treatment we are regularly called upon to 
fill out the infantile memory gaps, and in so far as the cure is to 
any degree successful, we are able again to bring to light the 
content of the childhood years thus clouded in forgetfulness. 
These impressions have never really been forgotten, they have 
only been inaccessible, latent, have belonged to the unconscious. 
But sometimes they bob up out of the unconscious spontaneously, 
and, as a matter of fact, this is what happens in dreams. It is 
apparent that the dream life knows how to find the entrance to 
these latent, infantile experiences. Beautiful examples of this 
occur in literature, and I myself can present such an example. 
I once dreamed in a certain connection of a person who must 
have performed some service for me, and whom I clearly saw. 
He was a one-eyed man, short in stature, stout, his head deeply 
sunk into his neck. I concluded from the content that he was a 
physician. Luckily I was able to ask my mother, who was still 
living, how the physician in my birth-place, which I left when 
I was three years old, looked, and I learned from her that he 
had one eye, was short and stout, with his head sunk into his 
neck, and also learned at what forgotten mishap he had been of 
service to me. This control over the forgotten material of child- 
hood years is, then, a further archaic tendency of the dream. 

The same information may be made use of in another of the 
puzzles that have presented themselves to us. You will recall 
how astonished people were when we came to the conclusion 
that the stimuli which gave rise to dreams were extremely bad 
and licentious sexual desires which have made dream-censorship 
and dream-distortion necessary. After we have interpreted such 
a dream for the dreamer and he, in the most favorable circum- 
stances does not attack the interpretation itself, he almost always 
asks the question whence such a wish comes, since it seems 
foreign to him and he feels conscious of just the opposite sensa- 
tions. "We need not hesitate to point out this origin. These evil 
wish-impulses have their origin in the past, often in a past which 
is not too far away. It can be shown that at one time they were 
known and conscious, even if they no longer are so. The woman, 
whose dream is interpreted to mean that she would like to see 
her seventeen-year old daughter dead, discovers under our guid- 

170 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ance that she in fact at one time entertained this wish. The child 
is the fruit of an unhappy marriage, which early ended in a sep- 
aration. Once, while the child was still in the womb, and after a 
tense scene with her husband, she beat her body with her fists 
in a fit of anger, in order to kill the child. How many mothers 
who to-day love their children tenderly, perhaps too tenderly, 
received them unwillingly, and at the time wished that the life 
within them would not develop further; indeed, translated this 
wish into various actions, happily harmless. The later death- 
wish against some loved one, which seems so strange, also has its 
origin in early phases of the relationship to that person. 

The father, the interpretation of whose dream shows that he 
wishes for the death of his eldest and favorite child, must be 
reminded of the fact that at one time this wish was no stranger 
to him. "While the child was still a suckling, this man, who was 
unhappy in his choice of a wife, often thought that if the little 
being that meant nothing to him would die, he would again be 
free, and would make better use of his freedom. A like origin 
may be found for a large number of similar hate impulses ; they 
are recollections of something that belonged to the past, were 
once conscious and played their parts in the psychic life. You 
will wish to conclude therefrom that such wishes and such dreams 
cannot occur if such changes in the relationship to a person have 
not taken place; if such relationship was always of the same 
character. I am ready to admit this, only wish to warn you 
that you are to take into consideration not the exact terms of 
the dream, but the meaning thereof according to its interpre- 
tation. It may happen that the manifest dream of the death of 
some loved person has only made use of some frightful mask, 
that it really means something entirely different, or that the 
loved person serves as a concealing substitute for some other. 

But the same circumstances will call forth another, mole 
difficult question. You say : ' ' Granted this death wish was pres- 
ent at some time or other, and is substantiated by memory, yet 
this is no explanation. It is long outlived, to-day it can be 
present only in the unconscious and as an empty, emotionless 
memory, but not as a strong impulse. Why should it be recalled 
by the dream at all ? " This question is justified. The attempt to 
answer it would lead us far afield and necessitate taking up a 
position in one of the most important points of dream study. 

Archaic Remnants and Infantilism 171 

But I must remain within the bounds of our discussion and prac- 
tice restraint. Prepare yourselves for the temporary abstention. 
Let us be satisfied with the circumstantial proof that this out- 
lived wish can be shown to act as a dream stimulator and let us 
continue the investigation to see whether or not other evil wishes 
admit of the same derivation out of the past. 

Let us continue with the removal or death-wish which most 
frequently can be traced back to the unbounded egoism of the 
dreamer. Such a wish can very often be shown to be the inciting 
cause of the dream. As often as someone has been in our way 
in life and how often must this happen in the complicated rela- 
tionships of life the dream is ready to do away with him, be he 
father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, etc. We have wondered 
sufficiently over this evil tendency of human nature, and cer- 
tainly were not predisposed to accept the authenticity of this 
result of dream interpretation without question. After it has 
once been suggested to us to seek the origir of such wishes in 
the past, we disclose immediately the period of the individual 
past in which such egoism and such wish-impulses, even as 
directed against those closest to the dreamer, are no longer 
strangers. It is just in these first years of childhood which later 
are hidden by amnesia, that this egoism frequently shows itself 
in most extreme form, and from which regular but clear ten- 
dencies thereto, or real remnants thereof, show themselves. For 
the child loves itself first, and later learns to love others, to 
sacrifice something of its ego for another. Even those persons 
whom the child seems to love from the very beginning, it loves 
at the outset because it has need of them, cannot do without them, 
in others words, out of egoistical motives. Not until later does 
the love impulse become independent of egoism. In brief, egoism 
has taught the child to love. 

In this connection it is instructive to compare the child's re- 
gard for his brothers and sisters with that which he has for his 
parents. The little child does not necessarily love his brothers 
and sisters, often, obviously, he does not love them at all. There 
is no doubt that in them he hates his rivals and it is known how 
frequently this attitude continues for many years until maturity, 
and even beyond, without interruption. Often enough this atti- 
tude is superseded by a more tender feeling, or rather let us 
say, glossed over, but the hostile feeling appears regularly to 

172 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

have been the earlier. It is most noticeable in children of from 
two and one-half to four or five years of age, when a new little 
brother or sister arrives. The latter is usually received in a 
far from friendly manner. Expressions such as "I don't want 
him! Let the stork take him away again," are very usual. 
Subsequently every opportunity is made use of to disparage the 
new arrival, and even attempts to do him bodily harm, direct 
attacks, are not unheard of. If the difference in age is less, the 
child learns of the existence of the rival with intense psychic 
activity, and accommodates himself to the new situation. If the 
difference in age is greater, the new child may awaken certain 
sympathies as an interesting object, as a sort of living doll, and 
if the difference is eight years or more, motherly impulses, 
especially in the case of girls, may come into play. But to be 
truthful, when we disclose in a dream the wish for the death 
of a mother or sister we need seldom find it puzzling and may 
trace its origin easily to early childhood, often enough, also, 
to the propinquity of later years. 

Probably no nurseries are free from mighty conflicts among 
the inhabitants. The motives are rivalry for the love of the 
parents, articles owned in common, the room itself. The hostile 
impulses are called forth by older as well as younger brothers 
and sisters. I believe it was Bernard Shaw who said : "If there 
is anyone who hates a young English lady more than does her 
mother, it is her elder sister." There is something about this 
saying, however, that arouses our antipathy. "We can, at a 
pinch, understand hatred of brothers and sisters, and rivalry 
among them, but how may feelings of hatred force their way 
into the relationship between daughter and mother, parents and 
children ? 

This relationship is without doubt the more favorable, even 
when looked at from the viewpoint of the child. This is in 
accord with our expectation ; we find it much more offensive for 
love between parents and children to be lacking than for love 
between brothers and sisters. We have, so to speak, made some- 
thing holy in the first instance which in the other case we per- 
mitted to remain profane. But daily observation can show us 
how frequently the feelings between parents and their grown 
children fail to come up to the ideal established by society, how 
much enmity exists and would find expression did not accumula- 

Archaic Remnants and Infantilism 173 

tions of piety and of tender impulse hold them back. The mo- 
tives for this are everywhere known and disclose a tendency 
to separate those of the same sex, daughter from mother, father 
from son. The daughter finds in her mother the authority that 
hems in her will and that is entrusted with the task of causing 
her to carry out the abstention from sexual liberty which society 
demands; in certain cases also she is the rival who objects to 
being displaced. The same type of thing occurs in a more 
glaring manner between father and son. To the son the father 
is the embodiment of every social restriction, borne with such 
great opposition; the father bars the way to freedom of will, 
to early sexual satisfaction^ and where there is family property 
held in common, to the enjoyment thereof. Impatient waiting 
for the death of the father grows to heights approximating 
tragedy in the case of a successor to the throne. Less strained 
is the relationship between father and daughter, mother and 
son. The latter affords the purest examples of an unalterable 
tenderness, in no way disturbed by egoistical considerations. 

Why do I speak of these things, so banal and so well known ? 
Because there is an unmistakable disposition to deny their sig- 
nificance in life, and to set forth the ideal demanded by society 
as a fulfilled thing much oftener than it really is fulfilled. But 
it is preferable for psychology to speak the truth, rather than 
that this task should be left to the cynic. In any event, this 
denial refers only to actual life. The arts of narrative and 
dramatic poetry are still free to make use of the motives that 
result from a disturbance of this ideal. 

It is not to be wondered at that in the case of a large number 
of people the dream discloses the wish for the removal of the 
parents, especially the parent of the same sex. "We may conclude 
that it is also present during waking hours, and that it becomes 
conscious even at times when it is able to mask itself behind 
another motive, as in the case of the dreamer's sympathy for 
his father's unnecessary sufferings in example 3. It is seldom 
that the enmity alone controls the relationship ; much more often 
it recedes behind more tender impulses, by which it is suppressed, 
and must wait until a dream isolates it. That which the dream 
shows us in enlarged form as a result of such isolation, shrinks 
together again after it has been properly docketed in its relation 
to life as a result of our interpretation (H. Sachs). But we 

174 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

also find this dream wish in places where it has no connection 
with life, and where the adult, in his waking hours, would 
never recognize it. The reason for this is that the deepest and 
most uniform motive for becoming unfriendly, especially between 
persons of the same sex, has already made its influence felt in 
earliest childhood. 

I mean the love rivalry, with the especial emphasis of the sex 
character. The son, even as a small child, begins to develop an 
especial tenderness for his mother, whom he considers as his 
own property, and feels his father to be a rival who puts into 
question his individual possession; and in the same manner the 
little daughter sees in her mother a person who is a disturbing 
element in her tender relationship with her father, and who 
occupies a position that she could very well fill herself. One 
learns from these observations to what early years these ideas 
extend back ideas which we designate as the Oedipus-complex, 
because this myth realizes with a very slightly weakened effect 
the two extreme wishes which grow out of the situation of the 
son to kill his father and take his mother to wife. I do not 
wish to maintain that the Oedipus-complex covers entirely the 
relation of the child to its parents; this relation can be much 
more complicated. Furthermore, the Oedipus-complex is more 
or less well-developed; it may even experience a reversal, but 
it is a customary and very important factor in the psychic life 
of the child; and one tends rather to underestimate than to 
overestimate its influence and the developments which may fol- 
low from it. In addition, children frequently react to the 
Oedipus-idea through stimulation by the parents, who in the 
placing of their affection are often led by sex-differences, so that 
the father prefers the daughter, the mother the son; or again, 
where the marital affection has cooled, and this love is substituted 
for the outworn love. 

One cannot maintain that the world was very grateful to 
psychoanalytic research for its discovery of the Oedipus-complex. 
On the contrary, it called forth the strongest resistance on the 
part of adults; and persons who had neglected to take part in 
denying this proscribed or tabooed feeling-relationship later 
made good the omission by taking all value from the complex 
through false interpretations. According to my unchanged con- 
viction there is nothing to deny and nothing to make more 

Archaic Remnants and Infantilism 175 

palatable. One should accept the fact, recognized by the Greek 
myth itself, as inevitable destiny. On the other hand, it is 
interesting that this Oedipus-complex, cast out of life, was 
yielded up to poetry and given the freest play. 0. Rank has 
shown in a careful study how this very Oedipus-complex has 
supplied dramatic literature with a large number of motives in 
unending variations, derivations and disguises, also in distorted 
forms such as we recognize to be the work of a censor. We may 
also ascribe this Oedipus-complex to those dreamers who were 
so fortunate as to escape in later life these conflicts with their 
parents, and intimately associated therewith we find what we 
call the castration complex, the reaction to sexual intimidation 
or restriction, ascribed to the father, of early infantile sexuality. 
By applying our former researches to the study of the psychic 
life of the child, we may expect to find that the origin of other 
forbidden dream-wishes, of excessive sexual impulses, may be 
explained in the same manner. Thus we are moved to study 
the development of sex-life in the child also, and we discover the 
following from a number of sources : In the first place, it is a 
mistake to deny that the child has a sexual life, and to take it 
for granted that sexuality commences with the ripening of the 
genitals at the time of puberty. On the contrary the child has 
from the very beginning a sexual life rich in content and differ- 
ing in numerous respects from that which is later considered 
normal. What we call "perverse" in the life of the adult, differs 
from the normal in the following respects: first, in disregard 
for the dividing line of species (the gulf between man and ani- 
mal) ; second, being insensible to the conventional feeling of 
disgust ; third, the incest-limitation (being prohibited from seek- 
ing sexual satisfaction with near blood-relations) ; fourth, homo- 
sexuality, and fifth, transferring the role of the genitals to other 
organs and other parts of the body. None of these limitations 
exist in the beginning, but are gradually built up in the course 
of development and education. The little child is free from 
them. He knows no unbridgable chasm between man and ani- 
mal ; the arrogance with which man distinguishes himself from 
the animal is a later acquisition. In the beginning he is not 
disgusted at the sight of excrement, but slowly learns to be so 
disgusted under the pressure of education; he lays no special 
Btress on the difference between the sexes, rather accredits to 

176 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

both the same genital formation; he directs his earliest sexual 
desires and his curiosity toward those persons closest to him, 
and who are dear to him for various reasons his parents, 
brothers and sisters, nurses; and finally, you may observe in 
him that which later breaks through again, raised now to a love 
attraction, viz., that he does not expect pleasure from his sexual 
organs alone, but that many other parts of the body portray the 
same sensitiveness, are the media of analogous sensations, and 
are able to play the role of the genitals. The child may, then, 
be called "polymorphus perverse," and if he makes but slight 
use of all these impulses, it is, on the one hand, because of their 
lesser intensity as compared to later life, and on the other hand, 
because the bringing up of the child immediately and ener- 
getically suppresses all his sexual expressions. This suppression 
continues in theory, so to say, since the grown-ups are careful 
to control part of the childish sex-expressions, and to disguise 
another part by misrepresenting its sexual nature until they can 
deny the whole business. These are often the same persons who 
discourse violently against all the sexual faults of the child and 
then at the writing table defend the sexual purity of the same 
children. Where children are left to themselves or are under 
the influence of corruption, they often are capable of really con- 
spicuous performances of perverse sexual activity. To be sure, 
the grown-ups are right in looking upon these things as ' ' childish 
performances," as "play," for the child is not to be judged as 
mature and answerable either before the bar of custom or before 
the law, but these things do exist, they have their significance 
as indications of innate characteristics as well as causes and 
furtherances of later developments, they give us an insight into 
childhood sex-life and thereby into the sex life of man. When 
we rediscover in the background of our distorted dreams all 
these perverse wish-impulses, it means only that the dream has 
in this field traveled back to the infantile condition. 

Especially noteworthy among these forbidden wishes are those 
of incest, i.e., those directed towards sexual intercourse with 
parents and brothers and sisters. You know what antipathy 
society feels toward such intercourse, or at least pretends to feel, 
and what weight is laid on the prohibitions directed against it. 
The most monstrous efforts have been made to explain this fear 
of incest. Some have believed that it is due to evolutionary fore- 

Archaic Remnants and Infantilism 177 

sight on the part of nature, which is psychically represented by 
this prohibition, because inbreeding would deteriorate the race- 
character; others maintained that because of having lived to- 
gether since early childhood the sexual desire is diverted from 
the persons under consideration. In both cases, furthermore, 
the incest-avoidance would be automatically assured, and it 
would be difficult to understand the need of strict prohibitions, 
which rather point to the presence of a strong desire. Psycho- 
analytic research has incontrovertibly shown that the incestuous 
love choice is rather the first and most customary choice, and 
that not until later is there any resistance, the source of which 
probably is to be found in the individual psychology. 

Let us sum up what our plunge into child psychology has 
given us toward the understanding of the dream. "We found 
not only that the materials of forgotten childhood experiences 
are accessible to the dream, but we saw also that the psychic life 
of children, with all its peculiarities, its egoism, its incestuous 
love-choice, etc., continues, for the purposes of the dream, in 
the unconscious, and that the dream nightly leads us back to 
Jhis infantile stage. Thus it becomes more certain that the un- 
conscious in our psychic life is the infantile. The estranging 
impression that there is so much evil in man, begins to weaken. 
This frightful evil is simply the original, primitive, infantile 
side of psychic life, which we may find in action in children, which 
we overlook partly because of the slightness of its dimensions, 
partly because it is lightly considered, since we demand no 
ethical heights of the child. Since the dream regresses to this 
stage, it seems to have made apparent the evil that lies in us 
But it is only a deceptive appearance by which we have allowed 
ourselves to be frightened. "We are not so evil as we might 
suspect from the interpretation of dreams. 

If the evil impulses of the dream are merely infantilism, a 
return to the beginnings of our ethical development, since the 
dream simply makes children of us again in thinking and in 
feeling, we need not be ashamed of these evil dreams if we are 
reasonable. But being reasonable is only a part of psychic 
life. Many things are taking place there that are not reasonable, 
and so it happens that we are ashamed of such dreams, and 
unreasonably. We turn them over to the dream-censorship, are 
ashamed and angry if one of these dreams has in some unusual 

178 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

manner succeeded in penetrating into consciousness in an un- 
distorted form, so that we must recognize it in fact, we are at 
times just as ashamed of the distorted dream as we would be 
if we understood it. Just think of the scandalized opinion of 
the fine old lady about her uninterpreted dream of "services 
of love." The problem is not yet solved, and it is still possible 
that upon further study of the evil in the dream we shall come 
to some other decision and arrive at another valuation of human 

As a result of the whole investigation we grasp two facts, 
which, however, disclose only the beginnings of new riddles, 
new doubts. First: the regression of dream-work is not only 
formal, it is also of greater import. It not only translates our 
thoughts into a primitive form of expression, but it reawakens 
the peculiarities of our primitive psychic life, the ancient pre- 
dominance of the ego, the earliest impulses of our sexual life, 
even our old intellectual property, if we may consider the sym- 
bolic relations as such. And second : We must accredit all these 
infantilisms which once were governing, and solely governing, 
to the unconscious, about which our ideas now change and are 
broadened. Unconscious is no longer a name for what is at 
that time latent, the unconscious is an especial psychic realm 
with wish-impulses of its own, with its own method of expres- 
sion and with a psychic mechanism peculiar to itself, all of 
which ordinarily are not in force. But the latent dream- 
thoughts, which we have solved by means of the dream-interpre- 
tation, are not of this realm. They are much more nearly the 
same as any we may have thought in our waking hours. Still 
they are unconscious; how does one solve this contradiction? 
We begin to see that a distinction must be made. Something 
that originates in our conscious life, and that shares its charac- 
teristics we call it the day-remnants combines in the dream- 
fabrication with something else out of the realm of the un- 
conscious. Between these two parts the dream-work completes 
itself. The influencing of the day-remnants by the unconscious 
necessitates regression. This is the deepest insight into the 
nature of the dream that we are able to attain without having 
searched through further psychic realms. The time will soon 
come, however, when we shall clothe the unconscious character of 
the latent dream-thought with another name, which shall differ- 

Archaic Remnants and Infantilism 179 

entiate it from the unconscious out of the realm of the infantile. 
We may, to be sure, propound the question : what forces the 
psychological activity during sleep to such regression? Why 
do not the sleep disturbing psychic stimuli do the job without it ? 
And if they must, because of the dream censorship, disguise 
themselves through old forms of expression which are no longer 
comprehensible, what is the use of giving new life to old, long- 
outgrown psychic stimuli, wishes and character types, that is, 
why the material regression in addition to the formal ? The only 
satisfactory answer would be this, that only in this manner can 
a dream be built up, that dynamically the dream-stimulus can 
be satisfied only in this way. But for the time being we have no 
right to give such an answer. 



Wish Fulfillment 

MAY I bring to your attention once more the ground 
we have already covered? How, when we met with 
dream distortion in the application of our technique, 
we decided to leave it alone for the time being, and 
set out to obtain decisive information about the nature of the 
dream by way of infantile dreams ? How, then, armed with the 
results of this investigation, we attacked dream distortion di- 
rectly and, I trust, in some measure overcame it ? But we must 
remind ourselves that the results we found along the one way 
and along the other do not fit together as well as might be. It 
is now our task to put these two results together and balance 
them against one another. 

From both sources we have seen that the dream-work consists 
essentially in the transposition of thoughts into an hallucinatory 
experience. How that can take place is puzzling enough, but 
it is a problem of general psychology with which we shall not 
busy ourselves here. We have learned from the dreams of chil- 
dren that the purpose of the dream work is the satisfaction of 
one of the sleep-disturbing psychic stimuli by means of a wish 
fulfillment. "We were unable to make a similar statement con- 
cerning distorted dreams, until we knew how to interpret them. 
But from the very beginning we expected to be able to bring 
the distorted dreams under the same viewpoint as the infantile. 
The earliest fulfillment of this expectation led us to believe that 
as a matter of fact all dreams are the dreams of children and that 
they all work with infantile materials, through childish psychic 
stimuli and mechanics. Since we consider that we have con- 
quered dream-distortion, we must continue the investigation to 
see whether our hypothesis of wish-fulfillment holds good for 
distorted dreams also. 

"We very recently subjected a number of dreams to interpret*- 


Wish Fulfillment 181 

tion, but left wish-fulfillment entirely out of consideration. I 
am convinced that the question again and again occurred to 
you: "What about wish-fulfillment, which ostensibly is the 
goal of dream-work?" This question is important. It was, in 
fact, the question of our lay-critics. As you know, humanity- 
has an instinctive antagonism toward intellectual novelties. The 
expression of such a novelty should immediately be reduced to its 
narrowest limits, if possible, comprised in a commonplace phrase. 
Wish-fulfillment has become that phrase for the new dream- 
science. The layman asks: "Where is the wish-fulfillment?" 
Immediately, upon having heard that the dream is supposed to 
be a wish-fulfillment, and indeed, by the very asking of the ques- 
tion, he answers it with a denial. He is at once reminded of 
countless dream-experiences of his own, where his aversion to the 
dream was enormous, so that the proposition of psychoanalytic 
dream-science seems very improbable to him. It is a simple 
matter to answer the layman that wish-fulfillment cannot be 
apparent in distorted dreams, but must be sought out, so that 
it is not recognized until the dream is interpreted. We know, 
too, that the wishes in these distorted dreams are prohibited 
wishes, are wishes rejected by the censor and that their existence 
is the very cause of the dream distortion and the reason for the 
intrusion of the dream censor. But it is hard to convince the 
lay-critic that one may not seek the wish-fulfillment in the dream 
before the dream has been interpreted. This is continually for- 
gotten. His sceptical attitude toward the theory of wish-ful- 
fillment is really nothing more than a consequence of dream- 
censorship, a substitute and a result of the denial of this censored 

To be sure, even we shall find it necessary to explain to our- 
selves why there are so many dreams of painful content, and 
especially dreams of fear. We see here, for the first time, the 
problem of the affects in the dream, a problem worthy of separate 
investigation, but which unfortunately cannot be considered 
here. If the dream is a wish-fulfillment, painful experiences 
ought to be impossible in the dream; in that the lay-critics ap- 
parently are right. But three complications, not thought of by 
them, must be taken into consideration. 

First : It may be that the dream work has not been successful 
in creating a wish-fulfillment, so that a part of the painful 

182 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

effect of the dream-thought is left over for the manifest dream. 
Analysis should then show that these thoughts were far more 
painful even than the dream which was built out of them. This 
much may be proved in each instance. "We admit, then, that the 
dream work has not achieved its purpose any more than the 
drink-dream due to the thirst-stimulus has achieved its purpose 
of satisfying the thirst. One remains thirsty, and must wake 
up in order to drink. But it was a real dream, it sacrificed 
nothing of its nature. We must say: " Although strength be 
lacking, let us praise the will to do." The clearly recognizable 
intention, at least, remains praiseworthy. Such cases of mis- 
carriage are not unusual. A contributory cause is this, that it is 
so much more difficult for the dream work to change affect into 
content in its own sense ; the affects often show great resistance, 
and thus it happens that the dream work has worked the painful 
content of the dream-thoughts over into a wish-fulfillment, while 
the painful affect continues in its unaltered form. Hence in 
dreams of this type the affect does not fit the content at all, and 
our critics may say the dream is so little a wish-fulfillment that a 
harmless content may be experienced as painful. In answer to 
this unintelligible remark we say that the wish-fulfillment ten- 
dency in the dream-work appears most prominent, because 
isolated, in just such dreams. The error is due to the fact that 
he who does not know neurotics imagines the connection between 
content and affect as all too intimate, and cannot, therefore, 
grasp the fact that a content may be altered without any 
corresponding change in the accompanying affect-expression. 

A second, far more important and more extensive considera- 
tion, equally disregarded by the layman, is the following: A 
wish-fulfillment certainly must bring pleasure but to whom? 
Naturally, to him who has the wish. But we know from the 
dreamer that he stands in a very special relationship to his 
wishes. He casts them aside, censors them, he will have none of 
them. Their fulfillment gives him no pleasure, but only the 
opposite. Experience then shows that this opposite, which must 
still be explained, appears in the form of fear. The dreamer 
in his relation to his dream-wishes can be compared only to a 
combination of two persons bound together by some strong com- 
mon quality. Instead of further explanations, I shall give you 
& well-known fairy tale, in which you will again find the rela- 

Wish Fulfillment 183 

tionships I have mentioned. A good fairy promises a poor 
couple, husband and wife, to fulfill their first three wishes. 
They are overjoyed, and determine to choose their three wishes 
with great care. But the woman allows herself to be led astray 
by the odor of cooking sausages emanating from the next cottage, 
and wishes she had a couple of such sausages. Presto ! they are 
there. This is the first wish-fulfillment. Now the husband 
becomes angry, and in his bitterness wishes that the sausages 
might hang from the end of her nose. This, too, is accomplished, 
and the sausages cannot be removed from their new location. 
So this is the second wish-fulfillment, but the wish is that of the 
husband. The wife is very uncomfortabe because of the ful- 
fillment of this wish. You know how the fairy tale continues. 
Since both husband and wife are fundamentally one, the third 
wish must be that the sausages be removed from the nose of the 
wife. "We could make use of this fairy tale any number of times 
in various connections; here it serves only as an illustration 
of the possibility that the wish-fulfillment for the one personality 
may lead to an aversion on the part of the other, if the two do 
not agree with one another. 

It will not be difficult now to come to a better understanding 
of the anxiety-dream. We shall make one more observation, 
then we shall come to a conclusion to which many things lead. 
The observation is that the anxiety dreams often have a content 
which is entirely free from distortion and in which the censor- 
ship is, so to speak, eluded. The anxiety dream is ofttimes an 
undisguised wish-fulfillment, not, to be sure, of an accepted, but 
of a discarded wish. The anxiety development has stepped into 
the place of the censorship. While one may assert of the in- 
fantile dream that it is the obvious fulfillment of a wish that 
has gained admittance, and of the distorted dream that it is the 
disguised fulfillment of a suppressed wish, he must say of the 
anxiety dream that the only suitable formula is this, that it 
is the obvious fulfillment of a suppressed wish. Anxiety is the 
mark which shows that the suppressed wish showed itself 
Stronger than the censorship, that it put through its wish-fulfill- 
ment despite the censorship, or was about to put it through. 
We understand that what is wish-fulfillment for the suppressed 
wish is for us, who are on the side of the dream-censor, only a 

184 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

painful sensation and a cause for antagonism. The anxiety 
which occurs in dreams is, if you wish, anxiety because of the 
strength of these otherwise suppressed wishes. Why this an- 
tagonism arises in the form of anxiety cannot be discovered from 
a study of the dream alone; one must obviously study anxiety 
from other sources. 

What holds true for the undistorted anxiety dream we may 
assume to be true also of those dreams which have undergone 
partial distortion, and of the other dreams of aversion whose 
painful impressions very probably denote approximations of 
anxiety. The anxiety dream is usually also a dream that causes 
waking; we habitually interrupt sleep before the suppressed 
wish of the dream has accomplished its entire fulfillment in 
opposition to the censorship. In this case the execution of the 
dream is unsuccessful, but this does not change its nature. 
We have likened the dream to the night watchman or sleep- 
defender who wishes to protect our sleep from being disturbed. 
The night watchman, too, sometimes wakes the sleeper when he 
feels himself too weak to drive away the disturbance or danger 
all by himself. Yet we are often able to remain asleep, even 
when the dream begins to become suspicious, and begins to as- 
sume the form of anxiety. We say to ourselves in our sleep: 
' ' It 's only a dream, ' ' and we sleep on. 

When does it happen that the dream-wish is in a position to 
overpower this censorship ? The conditions for this may be just 
as easily furnished by the dream-wish as by the dream-censor- 
ship. The wish may, for unknown reasons, become irresistible ; 
but one gets the impression that more frequently the attitude of 
the dream censorship is to blame for this disarrangement in the 
relations of the forces. We have already heard that the censor- 
ship works with varying intensity in each single instance, that 
it handles each element with a different degree of strictness; 
now we should like to add the proposition that it is an extremely 
variable thing and does not exert equal force on every occasion 
against the same objectionable element. If on occasion the 
censorship feels itself powerless with respect to a dream-wish 
which threatens to over-ride it, then, instead of distortion, it 
makes use of the final means at its disposal, it destroys the sleep 
condition by the development of anxiety. 

And now it occurs to us that we know absolutely nothing yet 

Wish Fulfillment 185 

as to why these evil, depraved wishes are aroused just at night, 
in order that they may disturb our sleep. The answer can only 
be an assumption which is based on the nature of the condition 
of sleep. During the day the heavy pressure of a censorship 
weighs upon these wishes, making it impossible, as a rule, for 
them to express themselves in any manner. At night, evidently, 
this censorship is withdrawn for the benefit of the single sleep- 
wish, in the same manner as are all the other interests of psychic 
life, or at least placed in a position of very minor importance. 
The forbidden wishes must thank this noctural deposition of 
the censor for being able to raise their heads again. There are 
nervous persons troubled with insomnia who admit that their 
sleeplessness was in the beginning voluntary. They did not 
trust themselves to fall asleep, because they were afraid of 
their dreams, that is, of the results due to a slackening of the 
censorship. So you can readily see that this withdrawal of the 
censor does not in itself signify rank carelessness. Sleep weakens 
our power to move; our evil intentions, even if they do begin 
to stir, can accomplish nothing but a dream, which for practical 
purposes is harmless, and the highly sensible remark of the 
sleepers, a night-time remark indeed, but not a part of the dream 
life, "it is only a dream," is reminiscent of this quieting cir- 
cumstance. So let us grant this, and sleep on. 

If, thirdly, you recall the concept that the dreamer, struggling 
against his wishes, is to be compared to a summation of two 
separate persons, in some manner closely connected, you will be 
able to grasp the further possibility of how a thing which is 
highly unpleasant, namely, punishment, may be accomplished 
by wish-fulfillment. Here again the fairy tale of the three 
wishes can be of service to us: the sausages on the plate are 
the direct wish-fulfillment of the first person, the woman; the 
sausages at the end of her nose are the wish-fulfillment of the 
second person, the husband, but at the same time the punishment 
for the stupid wish of the woman. Among the neurotics we find 
again the motivation of the third wish, which remains in fairy 
tales only. There are many such punishment-tendencies in the 
psychic life of man ; they are very powerful, and we may make 
them responsible for some of our painful dreams. Perhaps you 
now say that at this rate, not very much of the famed wish- 
fulfillment is left. But upon closer view you will admit that 

186 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

you are wrong. In contrast to the manysided aspects, later 
to be discussed, of what the dream might be and, according 
to numerous authors, is the solution (wish-fulfillment, anxiety- 
fulfillment, punishment-fulfillment) is indeed very restricted. 
That is why anxiety is the direct antithesis of the wish, why 
antitheses are so closely allied in association and why they occur 
together in the unconscious, as we have heard ; and that is why 
punishment, too, is a wish-fulfillment of the other, the censoring 

On the whole, then, I have made no concessions to your protes- 
tation against the theory of wish-fulfillment. "We are bound, 
however, to establish wish-fulfillment in every dream no matter 
how distorted, and we certainly do not wish to withdraw from 
this task. Let us go back to the dream, already interpreted, 
of the three bad theatre tickets for 1 Fl. 50 Kr. from 
which we have already learned so much. I hope you 
still remember it. A lady wno tells her husband during the 
day that her friend Elise, only three months younger than 
herself, has become engaged, dreams she is in the theatre with 
her husband. Half the parquet is empty. Her husband says, 
" Elise and her fiance wanted to go to the theatre, too, but 
couldn't because they could get only poor seats, three for one 
gulden and a half." She was of the opinion that that wasn't so 
unfortunate. We discovered that the dream-thought originated 
in her discontent at having married too soon, and the fact that 
she was dissatisfied with her husband. We may be curious as 
to the manner in which these thoughts have been worked over 
into a wish-fulfillment, and where their traces may be found 
in the manifest content. Now we know that the element "too 
soon, premature" is eliminated from the dream by the censor. 
The empty parquet is a reference to it. The puzzling "three 
for 1 Fl. 50 Kr." is now, with the help of symbolism 
which we have since learned, more understandable. 1 The "3" 
really means a husband, and the manifest element is easy to 
translate: to buy a husband for her dowry ("I could have 
bought one ten times better for my dowry"). The marriage 
is obviously replaced by going into the theatre. "Buying the 
tickets too soon" directly takes the place of the premature mar- 

1 1 do not mention another obvious interpretation of this " 3 " in the 
case of this childless woman, because it is not material to this analysis. 

Wish Fulfillment 187 

riage. This substitution is the work of the wish-fulfillment. 
Our dreamer was not always so dissatisfied with her early mar- 
riage as she was on the day she received news of the engagement 
of her friend. At the time she was proud of her marriage 
and felt herself more favored than her friend. Naive girls 
have frequently confided to their friends after their engagement 
that soon they, too, will be able to go to all the plays hitherto 
forbidden, and se everything. The desire to see plays, the 
curiosity that makes its appearance here, was certainly in the 
beginning directed towards sex matters, the sex-life, especially 
the sex-life of the parents, and then became a strong motive 
which impelled the girl to an early marriage. In this way the 
visit to the theatre becomes an obvious representative substitute 
for being married. In the momentary annoyance at her early 
marriage she recalls the time when the early marriage was a 
wish-fulfillment for her, because she had satisfied her curiosity ; 
and she now replaces the marriage, guided by the old wish- 
impulse, with the going to the theatre. 

"We may say that we have not sought out the simplest example 
as proof of a hidden wish-fulfillment. "We would have to pro- 
ceed in analogous manner with other distorted dreams. I cannot 
do that for you, and simply wish to express the conviction that 
it will be successful everywhere. But I wish to continue along 
this theoretical line. Experience has taught me that it is one 
of the most dangerous phases of the entire dream science, and 
that many contradictions and misunderstandings are connected 
therewith. Besides, you are perhaps still under the impression 
that I have retracted a part of my declaration, in that I said 
that the dream is a fulfilled wish or its opposite, an actualized 
anxiety or punishment, and you will think this is the oppor- 
tunity to compel further reservations of me. 1 have also heard 
complaints that I am too abrupt about things which appear 
evident to me, and that for that reason I do not present the 
thing convincingly enough. 

If a person has gone thus far with us in dream-interpretation, 
and accepted everything that has been offered, it is not unusual 
for him to call a halt at wish-fulfillment, and say, "Granted that 
in every instance the dream has a meaning, and that this mean- 
ing can be disclosed by psychoanalytic technique, why must this 
dream, despite all evidence to the contrary, always be forced 

188 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

into the formula of wish-fulfillment? Why might not the 
meaning of this nocturnal thought be as many-sided as thought is 
by day; why may not the dream in one case express a fulfilled 
wish, in another, as you yourself say, the opposite thereof, an 
actualized anxiety ; or why may it not correspond to a resolution, 
a warning, a reflection with its pro's and con's, a reproach, a 
goad to conscience, an attempt to prepare oneself for a con- 
templated performance, etc? Why always nothing more than 
a wish, or at best, its opposite?" 

One might maintain that a difference of opinion on these 
points is of no great importance, so long as we are at one other- 
wise. We might say that it is enough to have discovered the 
meaning of the dream, and the way to recognize it ; that it is a 
matter of no importance, if we have too narrowly limited this 
meaning. But this is not so. A misunderstanding of this point 
strikes at the nature of our knowledge of the dream, and en- 
dangers its worth for the understanding of neuroses. Then, too, 
that method of approach which is esteemed in the business world 
as genteel is out of place in. scientific endeavors, and harmful. 

My first answer to the question why the dream may not be 
many-sided in its meaning is the usual one in such instances: 
I do not know why it should not be so. I would not be opposed 
to such a state of affairs. As far as I am concerned, it could 
well be true. Only one small matter prevents this broader and 
more comfortable explanation of the dream namely, that as a 
matter of fact it isn't so. My second answer emphasizes the 
fact that the assumption that the dream corresponds to numer- 
ous forms of thought and intellectual operations is no stranger 
to me. In a story about a sick person I once reported a dream 
that occurred three nights running and then stopped, and I 
explained this suppression by saying that the dream cor- 
responded to a resolution which had no reason to recur after 
having been carried out. More recently I published a dream 
which corresponded to a confession. How is it possible for me 
to contradict myself, and maintain that the dream is always 
only a fulfilled wish ? 

I do that, because I do not wish to admit a stupid misunder- 
standing which might cost us the fruits of all our labors with 
regard to the dream, a misunderstanding which confuses the 
dream with the latent dream-thought and affirms of the dream 

Wish Fulfillment 189 

something that applies specifically and solely to the latter. For 
it is entirely correct that the dream can represent, and be re- 
placed by all those things we enumerated : a resolution, a warn- 
ing, reflection, preparation, an attempt to solve a problem, etc. 
But if you look closely, you will recognize that all these things 
are true only of the latent dream thoughts, which have been 
changed about in the dream. You learn from the interpretation 
of the dreams that the person's unconscious thinking is occupied 
with such resolutions, preparations, reflections, etc., out of 
which the dream-work then builds the dream. If you are not at 
the time interested in the dream-work, but are very much in- 
terested in the unconscious thought-work of man, you eliminate 
the dream-work, and say of the dream, for all practical purposes 
quite correctly, that it corresponds to a warning, a resolution, 
etc. This often happens in psychoanalytic activity. People en- 
deavor for the most part only to destroy the dream form, and 
to substitute in its place in the sequence the latent thoughts out 
of which the dream was made. 

Thus we learn, from the appreciation of the latent dream- 
thoughts, that all the highly complicated psychic acts we have 
enumerated can go on unconsciously, a result as wonderful as 
it is confusing. 

But to return, you are right only if you admit that you have 
made use of an abbreviated form of speech, and if you do not 
believe that you must connect the many-sidedness we have men- 
tioned with the essence of the dream. When you speak of the 
dream you must mean either the manifest dream, i.e., the 
product of the dream-work, or at most the dream-work itself 
that psychic occurrence which forms the manifest dream out of 
the latent dream thought. Any other use of the word is a 
confusion of concept that can only cause trouble. If your as- 
sertions refer to the latent thoughts back of the dream, say so, 
and do not cloud the problem of the dream by using such a 
faulty means of expression. The latent dream thoughts are 
the material which the dream-work remolds into the manifest 
dream. Why do you insist upon confusing the material with 
the work that makes use of it ? Are you any better off than those 
who knew only the product of this work, and could explain 
neither where it came from nor how it was produced ? 

The only essential thing in the dream is the dream-work that 

190 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

has had its influence upon the thought-material. We have no 
right to disregard it theoretically even if, in certain practical 
situations, we may fail to take it into account. Analytic obser- 
vation, too, shows that the dream-work never limits itself to 
translating these thoughts in the archiac or regressive mode of 
expression known to you. Bather it regularly adds something 
which does not belong to the latent thoughts of waking, but 
which is the essential motive of dream-formation. This indis- 
pensable ingredient is at the same time the unconscious wish, for 
the fulfillment of which the dream content is rebuilt. The 
dream may be any conceivable thing, if you take into account 
only the thoughts represented by it, warning, resolution, prepa- 
ration, etc.; it is also always the fulfillment of an unknown 
wish, and it is this only if you look upon it as the result of the 
dream-work. A dream is never itself a resolution, a warning, 
and no more but always a resolution, etc., translated into an 
archaic form of expression with the help of the unconscious 
wish, and changed about for the purpose of fulfilling this wish. 
The one characteristic, wish-fulfillment, is constant; the other 
may vary; it may itself be a wish at times, so that the dream, 
with the aid of an unconscious wish, presents as fulfilled a latent 
wish out of waking hours. 

I understand all this very well, but I do not know whether 
or not I shall be successful in making you understand it as 
well. I have difficulties, too, in proving it to you. This cannot 
be done without, on the one hand, careful analysis of many 
dreams, and on the other hand this most difficult and most 
important point of our conception of the dream cannot be set 
forth convincingly without reference lo things to follow. Can 
you, in fact, believe that taking into consideration the intimate 
relationship of all things, one is able to penetrate deeply into 
the nature of one thing without having carefully considered 
other things of a very similar nature ? Since we know nothing 
as yet about the closest relatives of the dream, neurotic symp- 
toms, we must once again content ourselves with what has al- 
ready been accomplished. I want to explain one more example 
to you, and propose a new viewpoint. 

Let us again take up that dream to which we have several 
times recurred, the dream of the three theatre tickets for 1 
PL 50 Kr. I can assure you that I took this example 

Wish Fulfillment 191 

quite unpremeditatedly at first. You are acquainted with the 
latent dream thoughts : annoyance, upon hearing that her friend 
had just now become engaged, at the thought that she herself 
had hurried so to be married; contempt for her husband; the 
idea that she might have had a better one had she waited. We 
also know the wish, which made a dream out of these thoughts 
it is "curiosity to see," being permitted to go to the theatre, 
very likely a derivation from the old curiosity finally to know 
just what happens when one is married. This curiosity, as is 
well known, regularly directs itself in the case of children to 
the sex-life of the parents. It is an impulse of childhood, and 
in so far as it persists later, an impulse whose roots reach back 
into the infantile. But that day's news played no part in awak- 
ing the curiosity, it awoke only annoyance and regret. This 
wish impulse did not have anything to do immediately with the 
latent dream thoughts, and we could fit the result of the dream 
interpretation into the analysis without considering the wish 
impulse at all. But then, the annoyance itself was not capable 
of producing the dream ; a dream could not be derived from the 
thought: "It was stupid to marry so soon," except by reviving 
the old wish finally to see what happens when one is married. 
The wish then formed the dream content, in that it replaced 
marriage by going to the theatre, and gave it the form of an 
earlier wish-fulfillment: "so now I may go to the theatre and 
see all the forbidden things, and you may not. I am married 
and you must wait." In such a manner the present situation 
was transposed into its opposite, an old triumph put into the 
place of the recent defeat. Added thereto was a satisfied 
curiosity amalgamated with a satisfied egoistic sense of rivalry. 
This satisfaction determines the manifest dream content in 
which she really is sitting in the theatre, and her friend was 
unable to get tickets. Those bits of dream content are affixed 
to this satisfaction situation as unfitting and inexplicable modi- 
fications, behind which the latent dream thoughts still hide. 
Dream interpretation must take into consideration everything 
that serves toward the representation of the wish-fulfillment and 
must reconstruct from these suggestions the painful latent 

The observation I now wish to make is for the purpose of 
drawing your attention to the latent, dream thoughts, now 

192 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

pushed to the fore. I beg of you not to forget first, that the 
dreamer is unconscious of them, second, they are entirely logical 
and continuous, so that they may be understood as a comprehen- 
sible reaction to the dream occasion, third, that they may have 
the value of any desired psychic impulse or intellectual opera- 
tion. I shall now designate these thoughts more forcibly than 
before as "day-remnants"; the dreamer may acknowledge them 
or not. I now separate day-remnants and latent dream thoughts 
in accordance with our previous usage of calling everything that 
we discover in interpreting the dream "latent dream 
thoughts," while the day-remnants are only a part of the latent 
dream thoughts. Then our conception goes to show that some- 
thing additional has been added to the day-remnants, something 
which also belonged to the unconscious, a strong but suppressed 
wish impulse, and it is this alone that has made possible the 
dream fabrication. The influence of this wish impulse on the 
day-remnants creates the further participation of the latent 
dream thoughts, thoughts which no longer appear rational and 
understandable in relation to waking life. 

In explaining the relationship of the day-remnants to th& 
unconscious wish I have made use of a comparison which I can 
only repeat here. Every undertaking requires a capitalist, who 
defrays the expenses, and an entrepreneur, who has the idea 
and understands how to carry it out. The role of the capitalist 
in the dream fabrication is always played by the unconscious 
wish; it dispenses the psychic energy for dream-building. The 
actual worker is the day-remnant, which determines how the 
expenditure is to be made. Now the capitalist may himself have 
the idea and the particularized knowledge, or the entrepreneur 
may have the capital. This simplifies the practical situation, 
but makes its theoretical comprehension more difficult. In 
economics we always distinguish between the capitalist and the 
entrepeneur aspect in a single person, and thus we reconstruct 
the fundamental situation which was the point of departure 
for our comparison. In dream-fabrication the same variations 
occur. I shall leave their further development to you. 

We can go no further here, for you have probably long been 
disturbed by a reflection which deserves to be heard. Are the 
day-remnants, you ask, really unconscious in the same sense as 
the unconscious wish which is essential to making them suitable 

Wish Fulfillment 193 

for the dream? You discern correctly. Here lies the salient 
point of the whole affair. They are not unconscious in the same 
sense. The dream wish belongs to a different unconsciousnessj 
that which we have recognized as of infantile origin, fitted 
out with special mechanisms. It is entirely appropriate to 
separate these two types of unconsciousness and give them dif- 
ferent designations. But let us rather wait until we have be- 
come acquainted with the field of neurotic symptoms. If people 
say one unconsciousness is fantastic, what will they say when 
we acknowledge that we arrived at our conclusions by using 
two kinds of unconsciousness ? 

Let us stop here. Once more you have heard something 
incomplete ; but is there not hope in the thought that this science 
has a continuation which will be brought to light either by our- 
selves or by those to follow? And have not we ourselves dis- 
covered a sufficient number of new and surprising things ? 



Doubtful Points and Criticism 

LET us not leave the subject of dreams before we have 
touched upon the most common doubts and uncertain- 
ties which have arisen in connection with the new ideas 
and conceptions we have discussed up to this point. 
The more attentive members of the audience probably have 
already accumulated some material bearing upon this. 

1. You may have received the impression that the results of 
our work of interpretation of the dream have left so much that 
is uncertain, despite our close adherence to technique, that a 
true translation of the manifest dream into the latent dream 
thoughts is thereby rendered impossible. In support of this 
you will point out that in the first place, one never knows 
whether a specific element of the dream is to be taken literally 
or symbolically, since those elements which are used symbolically 
do not, because of that fact, cease to be themselves. But if one 
has no objective standard by which to decide this, the interpre- 
tation is, as to this point, left to the discretion of the dream 
interpreter. Moreover, because of the way in which the dream 
work combines opposites, it is always uncertain whether a specific 
dream element is to be taken in the positive or the negative 
sense, whether it is to be understood as itself or as its opposite. 
Hence this is another opportunity for the exercise of the inter- 
preter's discretion. In the third place, in consequence of the 
frequency with which every sort of inversion is practised in the 
dream, the dream interpreter is at liberty to assume such an 
inversion at any point of the dream he pleases. And finally 
you will say, you have heard that one is seldom sure that the 
interpretation which is found is the only possible one. There 
ia danger of overlooking a thoroughly admissible second inter- 


Doubtful Points and Criticism 195 

pretation of the same dream. Under these circumstances, you 
will conclude there is a scope left for the discretion of the 
interpreter, the breadth of which seems incompatible with the 
objective accuracy of the results. Or you may also conclude that 
the fault does not rest with the dream but that the inadequacies 
of our dream interpretation result from errors in our conceptions 
and hypotheses. 

All your material is irreproachable, but I do not believe that 
it justifies your conclusions in two directions, namely, that 
dream interpretation as we practice it is sacrificed to arbitrari- 
ness and that the deficiency of our results makes the justification 
of our method doubtful. If you will substitute for the arbitrari- 
ness of the interpreter, his skill, his experience, his comprehen- 
sion, I agree with you. We shall surely not be able to dispense 
with some such personal factor, particularly not in difficult tasks 
of dream interpretation. But this same state of affairs exists 
also in other scientific occupations. There is no way in which 
to make sure that one man will not wield a technique less well, 
or utilize it more fully, than another. What might, for example, 
impress you as arbitrariness in the interpretation of symbols, 
is compensated for by the fact that as a rule the connection of 
the dream thoughts among themselves, the connection of the 
dream with the life of the dreamer, and the whole psychic 
situation in which the dream occurs, chooses just one of the 
possible interpretations advanced and rejects the others as use- 
less for its purposes. The conclusion drawn from the inade- 
quacies of dream interpretation, that our hypotheses are wrong, 
is weakened by an observation which shows that the ambiguity 
and indefiniteness of the dream is rather characteristic and 
necessarily to be expected. 

Recollect that we said that the dream work translates the 
dream thoughts into primitive expressions analogous to picture 
writing. All these primitive systems of expression are, however, 
subject to such indefiniteness and ambiguities, but it does not 
follow that we are justified in doubting their usefulness. You 
know that the fusion of opposites by the dream-work is analogous 
to the so-called "antithetical meaning of primitive words," in 
the oldest languages. The philologist, B. Abel (1884), whom we 
have to thank for this point of view, admonishes us not to 
believe that the meaning of the communication which one person 

196 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

made to another when using such ambiguous words was neces- 
sarily unclear. Tone and gesture used in connection with the 
words would have left no room for doubt as to which of the two 
opposites the speaker intended to communicate. In writing, 
where gesture is lacking, it was replaced by a supplementary 
picture sign not intended to be spoken, as for example by the 
picture of a little man squatting lazily or standing erect, ac- 
cording to whether the ambiguous hieroglyphic was to mean 
"weak" or "strong." It was in this way that one avoided 
any misunderstanding despite the ambiguity of the sounds and 

"We recognize in the ancient systems of expression, e.g., the 
writings of those oldest languages, a number of uncertainties 
which we would not tolerate in our present-day writings. Thus 
in many Semitic writings only the consonants of words are indi- 
cated. The reader had to supply the omitted vowels according 
to his knowledge and the context. Hieroglyphic writing does 
not proceed in exactly this way, but quite similarly, and that is 
why the pronunciation of old Egyptian has remained un- 
known to us. The holy writings of the Egyptians contain still 
other uncertainties. For example, it is left to the discretion of the 
writer whether or not he shall arrange the pictures from right 
to left or from left to right. To be able to read we have to 
follow the rule that we must depend upon the faces of the 
figures, birds, and the like. The writer, however, could also 
arrange the picture signs in vertical rows, and in inscriptions 
on small objects he was guided by considerations of beauty and 
proportion further to change the order of the signs. Probably 
the most confusing feature of hieroglyphic writing is to be 
found in the fact that there is no space between words. The 
pictures stretch over the page at uniform distances from one 
another, and generally one does not know whether a sign be- 
longs to what has gone before or is the beginning of a new word. 
Persian cuneiform writing, on the other hand, makes use of an 
oblique wedge sign to separate the words. 

The Chinese tongue and script is exceedingly old, but still 
used by four hundred million people. Please do not think I 
understand anything about it. I have only informed myself 
concerning it because I hoped to find analogies to the indefinite 
aspects of the dream. Nor was I disappointed. The Chinese 

Doubtful Points and Criticism 197 

language is filled with so many vagaries that it strikes terror 
into our hearts. It consists, as is well known, of a number of 
syllable sounds which are spoken singly or are combined in 
twos. One of the chief dialects has about four hundred such 
sounds. Now since the vocabulary of this dialect is estimated at 
about four thousand words, it follows that every sound has on an 
average of ten different meanings, some less but others, conse- 
quently, more. Hence there are a great number of ways of 
avoiding a multiplicity of meaning, since one cannot guess from 
the context alone which of the ten meanings of the syllable sound 
the speaker intended to convey to the hearer. Among them are 
the combining of two sounds into a compounded word and the 
use of four different "tones" with which to utter these syllables. 
For our purposes of comparison, it is still more interesting to 
note that this language has practically no grammar. It is im- 
possible to say of a one-syllable word whether it is a noun, a 
verb, or an adjective, and we find none of those changes in the 
forms of the words by means of which we might recognize sex, 
number, ending, tense or mood. The language, therefore, might 
be said to consist of raw material, much in the same manner 
as our thought language is broken up by the dream work into 
its raw materials when the expressions of relationship are left 
out. In the Chinese, in all cases of vagueness the decision is 
left to the understanding of the hearer, who is guided by the 
context. I have secured an example of a Chinese saying which, 
literally translated, reads: "Little to be seen, much to wonder 
at." That is not difficult to understand. It may mean, "The 
less a man has seen, the more he finds to wonder at," or, "There 
is much to admire for the man who has seen little. ' ' Naturally, 
there is no need to choose between these two translations, which 
differ only in grammar. Despite these uncertainties, we are 
assured, the Chinese language is an extraordinarily excellent 
medium for the expression of thought. Vagueness does not, 
therefore, necessarily lead to ambiguity. 

Now we must certainly admit that the condition of affairs 
is far less favorable in the expression-system of the dream than 
in these ancient languages and writings. For, after all, these 
latter are really designed for communication, that is to say, 
they were always intended to be understood, no matter in what 
way and with what aids. But it is just this characteristic which 

198 Introduction .to Psychoanalysis 

the dream lacks. The dream does not want to tell anyone any- 
thing, it is no vehicle of communication, it is, on the contrary, 
constructed so as not to be understood. For that reason we 
must not be surprised or misled if we should discover that a 
number of the ambiguities and vagaries of the dream do not 
permit of determination. As the one specific gain of our com- 
parison, we have only the realization that such uncertainties as 
people tried to make use of in objecting to the validity of our 
dream interpretation, are rather the invariable characteristic of 
all primitive systems of expression. 

How far the dream can really be understood can be deter- 
mined only by practice and experience. My opinion is, that 
that is very far indeed, and the comparison of results which 
correctly trained analysts have gathered confirms my view. The 
lay public, even that part of the lay public which is interested 
in science, likes, in the face of the difficulties and uncertainties 
of a scientific task, to make what I consider an unjust show 
of its superior scepticism. Perhaps not all of you are acquainted 
with the fact that a similar situation arose in the history of 
the deciphering of the Babylonian-Assyrian inscriptions. 
There was a period then when public opinion went far in de- 
claring the decipherers of cuneiform writing to be visionaries 
and the whole research a "fraud." But in the year 1857 the 
Royal Asiatic Society made a decisive test. It challenged the 
four most distinguished decipherers of cuneiform writing, Eaw- 
linson, Hincks, Fox Talbot and Oppert, each to send to it in a 
sealed envelope his independent translation of a newly dis- 
covered inscription, and the Society was then able to testify, 
after having made a comparison of the four readings, that their 
agreement was sufficiently marked to justify confidence in what 
already had been accomplished, and faith in further progress. 
At this the mockery of the learned lay world gradually came 
to an end and the confidence in the reading of cuneiform docu- 
ments has grown appreciably since then. 

2. A second series of objections is firmly grounded in the 
impression from which you too probably are not free, that a 
number of the solutions of dream interpretations which we find 
it necessary to make seem forced, artificial, far-fetched, in other 
words, violent or even comical or jocose. These comments are 
so frequent that I shall choose at random the latest example 

Doubtful Points and Criticism 199 

which has come to my attention. Kecently, in free Switzerland, 
the director of a boarding-school was relieved of his position on 
account of his active interest in psychoanalysis. He raised objec- 
tions and a Berne newspaper made public the judgment of the 
school authorities. I quote from that article some sentences which 
apply to psychoanalysis: "Moreover, we are surprised at the 
many far-fetched and artificial examples as found in the afore- 
mentioned book of Dr. Pfister of Zurich. . . . Thus, it cer- 
tainly is a cause of surprise when the director of a boarding- 
school so uncritically accepts all these assertions and apparent 
proofs." These observations are offered as the decisions of "one 
who judges calmly. " I rather think this calm is "artificial." Let 
us examine these remarks more closely in the hope that a little 
reflection and knowledge of the subject can be no detriment 
to calm judgment. 

It is positively refreshing to see how quickly and unerringly 
some individuals can judge a delicate question of abstruse psy- 
chology by first impressions. The interpretations seem to them 
far-fetched and forced, they do not please them, so the interpre- 
tations are wrong and the whole business of interpretation 
amounts to nothing. No fleeting thought ever brushes the other 
possibility, that these interpretations must appear as they are 
for good reasons, which would give rise to the further question 
of what these good reasons might be. 

The content thus judged generally relates to the results of 
displacement, with which you have become acquainted as the 
strongest device of the dream censor. It is with the help of dis- 
placements that the dream censor creates substitute-formations 
which we have designated as allusions. But they are allusions 
which are not easily recognized as such, and from which it is 
not easy to find one's way back to the original and which are 
connected with this original by means of the strangest, most 
unusual, most superficial associations. In all of these cases, 
however, it is a question of matters which are to be hidden, 
which were intended for concealment; this is what the dream 
censor aims to do. We must not expect to find a thing that has 
been concealed in its accustomed place in the spot where it 
belongs. In this respect the Commissions for the Surveillance 
of Frontiers now in office are more cunning than the Swiss 
school authorities. In their search for documents and maps they 

200 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

are not content to search through, portfolios and letter cases 
but they also take into account the possibility that spies and 
smugglers might carry such severely proscribed articles in the 
most concealed parts of their clothing, where they certainly do 
not belong, as for example between the double soles of their 
boots. If the concealed objects are found in such a place, they 
certainly are very far-fetched, but nevertheless they have been 

If we recognize that the most remote, the most extraordinary 
associations between the latent dream element and its manifest 
substitute are possible, associations appearing ofttimes comical, 
ofttimes witty, we follow in so doing a wealth of experience 
derived from examples whose solutions we have, as a rule, not 
found ourselves. Often it is not possible to give such interpre- 
tations from our own examples. No sane person could guess 
the requisite association. The dreamer either gives us the trans- 
lation with one stroke by means of his immediate association 
he can do this, for this substitute formation was created by his 
mind or he provides us with so much material that the solution 
no longer demands any special astuteness but forces itself upon 
us as inevitable. If the dreamer does not help us in either of 
these two ways, then indeed the manifest element in question 
remains forever incomprehensible to us. Allow me to give you 
one more such example of recent occurrence. One of my patients 
lost her father during the time that she was undergoing treat- 
ment. Since then she has made use of every opportunity to 
bring him back to life in her dreams. In one of her dreams her 
father appears in a certain connection, of no further importance 
here, and says, "It is a quarter past eleven, it is half past eleven, 
it is quarter of twelve." All she can think of in connection 
with this curious incident is the recollection that her father liked 
to see his grown-up children appear punctually at the general 
meal hour. That very thing probably had some connection with 
the dream element, but permitted of no conclusion as to its 
source. Judging from the situation of the treatment at that 
time, there was a justified suspicion that a carefully suppressed 
critical rebellion against her loved and respected father played 
its part in this dream. Continuing her associations, and ap- 
parently far afield from topics relevant to the dream, the 
dreamer relates that yesterday many things of a psychological 

Doubtful Points and Criticism 201 

nature had been discussed in her presence, and that a relative 
made the remark: "The cave man (Urmensch) continues to live 
in all of us." Now we think we understand. That gave her an 
excellent opportunity of picturing her father as continuing to 
live. So in the dream she made of him a clockman (Uhrmensch) 
by having him announce the quarter-hours at noon time. 

You may not be able to disregard the similarity which this 
examples bears to a pun, and it really has happened frequently 
that the dreamer's pun is attributed to the interpreter. There 
are still other examples in which it is not at all easy to decide 
whether one is dealing with a joke or a dream. But you will 
recall that the same doubt confronted us when we were dealing 
with slips of the tongue. A man tells us a dream of his, that 
his uncle, while they were sitting in the latter 's automobile, 
gave him a kiss. He very quickly supplies the interpretation 
himself. It means "awto-eroticism," (a term taken from the 
study of the libido, or love impulse, and designating satisfaction 
of that impulse without an external object). Did this man per- 
mit himself to make fun of us and give out as a dream a pun that 
occurred to him? I do not believe so; he really dreamed it. 
Whence comes the astounding similarity? This question at one 
time led me quite a ways from my path, by making it necessary 
for me to make a thorough investigation of the problem of humor 
itself. By so doing I came to the conclusion that the origin of 
wit lies in a foreconscious train of thought which is left for a 
moment to unconscious manipulation, from which it then emerges 
as a joke. Under the influence of the unconscious it experiences 
the workings of the mechanisms there in force, namely, of con- 
densation and displacement, that is, of the same processes which 
we found active in the dream work, and it is to this agreement 
that we are to ascribe the similarity between wit and the dream, 
wherever it occurs. The unintentional "dream joke" has, how- 
ever, none of the pleasure-giving quality of the ordinary joke. 
Why that is so, greater penetration into the study of wit may 
teach you. The "dream joke" seems a poor joke to us, it does 
not make us laugh, it leaves us cold. 

Here we are also following in the footsteps of ancient dream 
interpretation, which has left us, in addition to much that is 
useless, many a good example of dream interpretation which 
we ourselves cannot surpass. I am -now going to tell you a 

202 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

dream of historical importance which Plutarch and Artemidorus 
of Daldis both tell concerning Alexander the Great, with certain 
variations. When the King was engaged in besieging the city 
of Tyre (322 B.C.), which was being stubbornly defended, he 
once dreamed that he saw a dancing satyr. Aristandros, his 
dream interpreter, who accompanied the army, interpreted this 
dream for him by making of the word Satyros, <ra Tvpo?, 
"Thine is Tyre," and thus promising him a triumph over the 
city. Alexander allowed himself to be influenced by this inter- 
pretation to continue the siege, and finally captured Tyre. The 
interpretation, which seems artificial enough, was without doubt 
the correct one. 

3. I can imagine that it will make a special impression on 
you to hear that objections to our conception of the dream have 
been raised also by persons who, as psychoanalysts, have them- 
selves been interested in the interpretation of dreams. It would 
have been too extraordinary if so pregnant an opportunity for 
new errors had remained unutilized, and thus, owing to compre- 
hensible confusions and unjustified generalizations, there have 
been assertions made which, in point of incorrectness are not 
far behind the medical conception of dreams. One of these you 
already know. It is the declaration that the dream is occupied 
with the dreamer's attempts at adaptation to his present environ- 
ment, and attempts to solve future problems, in other words, 
that the dream follows a "prospective tendency" (A. Maeder). 
We have already shown that this assertion is based upon a 
confusion of the dream with the latent thoughts of the dream, 
that as a premise it overlooks the existence of the dream-work. 
In characterizing that psychic activity which is unconscious and 
to which the latent thoughts of the dream belong, the above 
assertion is no novelty, nor is it exhaustive, for this unconscious 
psychic activity occupies itself with many other things besides 
preparation for the future. A much worse confusion seems to 
underlie the assurance that back of every dream one finds the 
"death-clause," or death-wish. I am not quite certain what 
this formula is meant to indicate, but I suppose that back of it 
is a confusion of the dream with the whole personality of the 

An unjustified generalization, based on few good examples, 
is the pronouncement that every dream permits of two interpre 

Doubtful Points and Criticism 203 

tations, one such as we have explained, the so-called psycho- 
analytic, and another, the so-called anagogical or mystical, which 
ignores the instinctive impulses and aims at a representation of 
the higher psychic functions (V. Silberer). There are such 
dreams, but you will try in vain to extend this conception to 
even a majority of the dreams. But after everything you have 
heard, the statement will seem very incomprehensible that all 
dreams can be interpreted bisexually, that is, as the concurrence 
of two tendencies which may be designated as male and female 
(A. Adler) . To be sure, there are a few such dreams, and you 
may learn later that these are built up in the manner of certain 
hysterical symptoms. I mention all these newly discovered gen- 
eral characteristics of the dream in order to warn you against 
them or at least in order not to leave you in doubt as to how 
I judge them. 

4. At one time the objective value of dream research was 
called into question by the observation that patients undergoing 
analysis accommodate the content of their dreams to the favorite 
theories of their physicians, so that some dream predominantly 
of sexual impulses, others of the desire for power and still others 
even of rebirth (W. Stekel). The weight of this observation is 
diminished by the consideration that people dreamed before 
there was such a thing as a psychoanalytic treatment to influence 
their dreams, and that those who are now undergoing treatment 
were also in the habit of dreaming before the treatment was 
commenced. The meaning of this novel discovery can soon be 
recognized as a matter of course and as of no consequence for 
Hie theory of the dream. Those day-remnants which give rise 
to the dream are the overflow from the strong interest of the 
waking life. If the remarks of the physician and the stimuli 
which he gives have become significant to the patient under 
analysis, then they become a part of the day's remnants, can 
serve as psychic stimuli for the formation of a dream along with 
other, emotionally-charged, unsolved interests of the day, and 
operate much as do the somatic stimuli which act upon the 
sleeper during his sleep. Just like these other incitors of the 
dream, the sequence of ideas which the physician sets in motion 
may appear in the manifest content, or may be traced in the 
latent content of the dream. Indeed, we know that one can 
produce dreams experimentally, or to speak more accurately, 

204 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

one can insert into the dream a part of the dream material. 
Thus the analyst in influencing his patients, merely plays the 
role of an experimenter in the manner of Hourly Void, who 
places the limbs of his subjects in certain positions. 

One can often influence the dreamer as to the subject-matter 
of his dream, but one can never influence what he will dream 
about it. The mechanism of the dream-work and the unconscious 
wish that is hidden in the dream are beyond the reach of all 
foreign influences. We already realized, when we evaluated the 
dreams caused by bodily stimuli, that the peculiarity and self- 
sufficiency of the dream life shows itself in the reaction with 
which the dream retorts to the bodily or physical stimuli which 
are presented. The statement here discussed, which aims to 
throw doubt upon the objectivity of dream research, is again 
based on a confusion this time of the whole dream with the 
dream material. 

This much, ladies and gentlemen, I wanted to tell you con- 
cerning the problems of the dream. You will suspect that I have 
omitted a great deal, and have yourselves discovered that I had 
to be inconclusive on almost all points. But that is due to the 
relation which the phenomena of the dream have to those of the 
neuroses. We studied the dream by way of introduction to the 
study of the neuroses, and that was surely more correct than 
the reverse would have been. But just as the dream prepares us 
for the understanding of the neuroses, so in turn the correct 
evaluation of the dream can only be gained after a knowledge 
of neurotic phenomena has been won. 

I do not know what you will think about this, but I must assure 
you that I do not regret having taken so much of your interest 
and of your available time for the problems of the dream. There 
is no other field in which one can so quickly become convinced 
of the correctness of the assertions by which psychoanalysis 
stands or falls. It will take the strenuous labor of many months, 
even years, to show that the symptoms in a case of neurotic 
break-down have their meaning, serve a purpose, and result 
from the fortunes of the patient. On the other hand, the efforts 
of a few hours suffice in proving the same content in a dream 
product which at first seems incomprehensibly confused, and 
thereby to confirm all the hypotheses of psychoanalysis, the un- 
consciousness of psychic processes, the special mechanism which 

Doubtful Points and Criticism 205 

they follow, and the motive forces which manifest themselves in 
them. And if we associate the thorough analogy in the construc- 
tion of the dream and the neurotic symptom with the rapidity 
of transformation which makes of the dreamer an alert and 
reasonable individual, we gain the certainty that the neurosis also 
is based only on a change in the balance of the forces of psychic 





Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry 

I AM very glad to welcome you back to continue our dis- 
cussions. I last lectured to you on the psychoanalytic 
treatment of errors and of the dream. To-day I should 
like to introduce you to an understanding of neurotic 
phenomena, which, as you soon will discover, have much in 
common with both of those topics. But I shall tell you in 
advance that I cannot leave you to take the same attitude 
toward me that you had before. At that time I was anxious to 
take no step without complete reference to your judgment. I 
discussed much with you, I listened to your objections, in short, 
I deferred to you and to your "normal common sense." That 
is no longer possible, and for a very simple reason. As phe- 
nomena, the dream and errors were not strange to you. One 
might say that you had as much experience as I, or that you 
could easily acquire as much. But neuroses are foreign to you ; 
since you are not doctors yourselves you have had access to 
them only through what I have told you. Of what use is the 
best judgment if it is not supported by familiarity with the 
material in question? 

Do not, however, understand this as an announcement of 
dogmatic lectures which demand your unconditional belief. That 
would be a gross misunderstanding. I do not wish to convince 
you. I am out to stimulate your interest and shake your 
prejudices. If, in consequence of not knowing the facts, you 
are not in a position to judge, neither should you believe nor 
condemn. Listen and allow yourselves to be influenced by what 
I tell you. One cannot be so easily convinced; at least if he 
comes by convictions without effort, they soon prove to be value- 
less and unable to hold their own. He only has a right to con- 
viction who has handled the same material for many years and 
who in so doing has gone through the same new and surprising 
experiences again and again. Why, in matters of intellect, these 


210 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

lightning conversions, these momentary repulsions? Do you 
not feel that a coup de foudre, that love at first sight, origi- 
nates in quite a different field, namely, in that of the emotions ? 
We do not even demand that our patients should become con- 
vinced of and predisposed to psychoanalysis. When they do, 
they seem suspicious to us. The attitude we prefer in them is 
one of benevolent scepticism. Will you not also try to let the 
psychoanalytic conception develop in your mind beside the popu- 
lar or "psychiatric"? They will influence each other, mutually 
measure their strength, and some day work themselves into a 
decision on your part. 

On the other hand, you must not think for a moment that 
what I present to you as the psychoanalytic conception is a 
purely speculative system. Indeed, it is a sum total of experi- 
ences and observations, either their direct expression or their 
elaboration. Whether this elaboration is done adequately and 
whether the method is justifiable will be tested in the further 
progress of the science. After two and a half decades, now 
that I am fairly advanced in years, I may say that it was par- 
ticularly difficult, intensive and all-absorbing work which yielded 
these observations. I have often had the impression that our 
opponents were unwilling to take into consideration this objec- 
tive origin of our statements, as if they thought it were only a 
question of subjective ideas arising haphazard, ideas to which 
another may oppose his every passing whim. This antagonistic 
behavior is not entirely comprehensible to me. Perhaps the 
physician's habit of steering clear of his neurotic patients and 
listening so very casually to what they have to say allows him 
to lose sight of the possibility of deriving anything valuable 
from his patients' communications, and therefore, of making 
penetrating observations on them. I take this opportunity of 
promising you that I shall carry on little controversy in the 
course of my lectures, least of all with individual controver- 
sialists. I have never been able to convince myself of the truth 
of the saying that controversy is the father of all things. I be- 
lieve that it comes down to us from the Greek sophist philosophy 
and errs as does the latter through the overvaluation of dia- 
lectics. To me, on the contrary, it seems as if the so-called 
scientific criticism were on the whole unfruitful, quite apart 
from the fact that it is almost always carried on in a most per- 

Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry 211 

sonal spirit. For my part, up to a few years ago, I could even 
boast that I had entered into a regular scientific dispute with 
only one scholar (Lowenfeld, of Munich). The end of this was 
that we became friends and have remained friends to this day. 
But I did not repeat this attempt for a long time, because I was 
Dot certain that the outcome would be the same. 

Now you will surely judge that so to reject the discussion of 
literature must evidence stubborness, a very special obtuseness 
against objections, or, as the kindly colloquialisms of science 
have it, "a complete personal bias." In answer, I would say 
that should you attain to a conviction by such hard labor, you 
would thereby derive a certain right to sustain it with some 
tenacity. Furthermore, I should like to emphasize the fact that 
I have modified my views on certain important points in the 
course of my researches, changed them and replaced them by 
new ones, and that I naturally made a public statement of that 
fact each time. What has been the result of this frankness? 
Some paid no attention at all to my self-corrections and even 
to-day criticize me for assertions which have long since ceased 
to have the same meaning for me. Others reproach me for just 
this deviation, and on account of it declare me unreliable. For 
is anyone who has changed his opinions several times still 
trustworthy; is not his latest assertion, as well, open to error t 
At the same time he who holds unswervingly to what he has 
once said, or cannot be made to give it up quickly enough, is 
called stubborn and biased. In the face of these contra- 
dictory criticisms, what else can one do but be himself and act 
according to his own dictates? That is what I have decided to 
do, and I will not allow myself to be restrained from modifying 
and adapting my theories as the progress of my experience de- 
mands. In the basic ideas I have hitherto found nothing to 
change, and I hope that such will continue to be the case. 

Now I shall present to you the psychoanalytic conception of 
neurotic manifestations. The natural thing for me to do is to 
connect them to the phenomena we have previously treated, for 
the sake of their analogy as well as their contrast. I will select 
as symptomatic an act of frequent occurrence in my office hour. 
Of course, the analyst cannot do much for those who seek him in 
his medical capacity, and lay the woes of a lifetime before him 
in fifteen minutes. His deeper knowledge makes it difficult for 

212 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

him to deliver a snap decision as do other physicians ' ' There is 
nothing wrong with you" and to give the advice, "Go to a 
watering-place for a while." One of our colleagues, in answer 
to the question as to what he did with his office patients, said, 
shrugging his shoulders, that he simply "fines them so many 
kronen for their mischief -making. " So it will not surprise you 
to hear that even in the case of very busy analysts, the hours 
for consultation are not very crowded. I have had the ordinary 
door between my waiting room and my office doubled and 
strengthened by a covering of felt. The purpose of this little 
arrangement cannot be doubted. Now it happens over and 
over again that people who are admitted from my waiting room 
omit to close the door behind them ; in fact, they almost always 
leave both doors open. As soon as I have noticed this I insist 
rather gruffly that he or she go back in order to rectify the 
omission, even though it be an elegant gentleman or a lady in 
all her finery. This gives an impression of misapplied pedantry. 
I have, in fact, occasionally discredited myself by such a demand, 
since the individual concerned was one of those who cannot 
touch even a door knob, and prefer as well to have their attend- 
ants spared this contact. But most frequently I was right, for 
he who conducts himself in this way, and leaves the door from 
the waiting room into the physician's consultation room open, 
belongs to the rabble and deserves to be received inhospitably. 
Do not, I beg you, defend him until you have heard what 
follows. For the fact is that this negligence of the patient's 
only occurs when he has been alone in the waiting room and so 
leaves an empty room behind him, never when others, strangers, 
have been waiting with him. If that latter is the case, he knows 
very well that it is in his interest not to be listened to while 
he is talking to the physician, and never omits to close both the 
doors with care. 

This omission of the patient's is so predetermined that it be- 
comes neither accidental nor meaningless, indeed, not even 
unimportant, for, as we shall see, it throws light upon the 
relation of this patient to the physician. He is one of the 
great number of those who seek authority, who want to 
be dazzled, intimidated. Perhaps he had inquired by tele- 
phone as to what time he had best call, he had prepared 
himself to come on a crowd of suppliants somewhat like those in 

Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry 213 

front of a branch milk station. He now enters an empty wait- 
ing room which is, moreover, most modestly furnished, and he 
is disappointed. He must demand reparation from the physician 
for the wasted respect that he had tendered him, and so he 
emits to close the door between the reception room and the 
office. By this, he means to say to the physician: "Oh, well, 
there is no one here anyway, and probably no one will come as 
long as I am here." He would also be quite unmannerly and 
supercilious during the consultation if his presumption were 
not at once restrained by a sharp reminder. 

You will find nothing in the analysis of this little symptomatic 
act which was not previously known to you. That is to say, it 
asserts that this act is not accidental, but has a motive, a mean- 
ing, a purpose, that it has its assignable connections psychologi- 
cally, and that it serves as a small indication of a more im- 
portant psychological process. But above all it implies that the 
process thus intimated is not known to the consciousness of the 
individual in whom it takes place, for none of the patients who 
left the two doors open would have admitted that they meant 
by this omission to show me their contempt. Some could prob- 
ably recall a slight sense of disappointment at entering an empty 
waiting room, but the connection between this impression and 
the symptomatic act which followed of these, his consciousness 
was surely not aware. 

Now let us place, side by side with this small analysis of a 
symptomatic act, an observation on a pathological case. I choose 
one which is fresh in my mind and which can also be described 
with relative brevity. A certain measure of minuteness of 
detail is unavoidable in any such account. 

A young officer, home on a short leave of absence, asked me 
to see his mother-in-law who, in spite of the happiest circum- 
stances, was embittering her own and her people's existence by 
a senseless idea. I am introduced to a well preserved lady of 
fifty-three with pleasant, simple manners, who gives the follow- 
ing account without any hesitation : She is most happily married 
and lives in the country with her husband, who operates a large 
factory. She cannot say enough for the kind thoughtfulness of 
her husband. They had married for love thirty years ago, and 
since then there had never been a shadow, a quarrel or cause 
for jealousy. Now, even though her two children are well mar- 

214 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ried, the husband and father does not yet want to retire, from 
a feeling of duty. A year ago there happened the incredible 
thing, incomprehensible to herself as well. She gave complete 
credence to an anonymous letter which accused her excellent 
husband of having an affair with a young girl and since then 
her happiness is destroyed. The more detailed circumstances 
were somewhat as follows : She had a chambermaid with whom 
she had perhaps too often discussed intimate matters. This girl 
pursued another young woman with positively malicious enmity 
because the latter had progressed so much further in life, despite 
the fact that she was of no better origin. Instead of going into 
domestic service, the girl had obtained a business training, had 
entered the factory and in consequence of the shorthandedness 
due to the drafting of the clerks into the army had advanced 
to a good position. She now lives in the factory itself, meets 
all the gentlemen socially, and is even addressed as "Miss." 
The girl who had remained behind in life was of course ready 
to speak all possible evil of her one-time schoolmate. One day 
our patient and her chambermaid were talking of an old gentle- 
man who had been visiting at the house, and of whom it was 
known that he did not live with his wife, but kept another 
woman as his mistress. She does not know how it happened 
that she suddenly remarked, "That would be the most awful 
thing that could happen to me, if I should ever hear that my 
good husband also had a mistress." The next day she received 
an anonymous letter through the mail which, in a disguised 
handwriting, carried this very communication which she had 
conjured up. She concluded it seems justifiably that the 
letter was the handiwork of her malignant chambermaid, for 
the letter named as the husband's mistress the self -same woman 
whom the maid persecuted with her hatred. Our patient, in 
spite of the fact that she immediately saw through the intrigue 
and had seen enough in her town to know how little credence 
such cowardly denunciations deserve, was nevertheless at once 
prostrated by the letter. She became dreadfully excited and 
promptly sent for her husband in order to heap the bitterest 
reproaches upon him. Her husband laughingly denied the 
accusation and did the best that could be done. He called in 
the family physician, who was as well the doctor in attendance 
at the factory, and the latter added his efforts tr ^uiet the 

Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry 215 

unhappy woman. Their further procedure was also entirely 
reasonable. The chambermaid was dismissed, but the pretended 
rival was not. Since then, the patient claims she has repeatedly 
so far calmed herself as no longer to believe the contents of the 
anonymous letter, but this relief was neither thoroughgoing 
nor lasting. It was enough to hear the name of the young lady 
spoken or to meet her on the street in order to precipitate a 
new attack of suspicion, pain and reproach. 

This, now, is the case history of this good woman. It does 
not need much psychiatric experience to understand that her 
portrayal of her own case was, if anything, rather too mild in 
contrast to other nervous patients. The picture, we say, was 
dissimulated; in reality she had never overcome her belief in 
the accusation of the anonymous letter. 

Now what position does a psychiatrist take toward such a 
case? We already know what he would do in the case of the 
symptomatic act of the patient who does not close the doors to 
the waiting room. He declares it an accident without psycho- 
logical interest, with which he need not concern himself. But 
this attitude cannot be maintained toward the pathological case 
of the jealous woman. The symptomatic act seems no great 
matter, but the symptom itself claims attention by reason of 
its gravity. It is bound up with intense subjective suffering 
while objectively it threatens to break up a home ; therefore its 
claim to psychiatric interest cannot be put aside. The first 
endeavor of the psychiatrist is to characterize the symptom by 
some distinctive feature. The idea with which this woman 
torments herself cannot in itself be called nonsensical, for it 
does happen that elderly married men have affairs with young 
girls. But there is something else about it that is nonsensical 
and incredible. The patient has no reason beyond the declara- 
tion in the anonymous letter to believe that her tender and 
faithful husband belongs to this sort of married men, otherwise 
not uncommon. She knows that this letter in itself carries no 
proof; she can satisfactorily explain its origin; therefore she 
ought to be able to persuade herself that she has no reason to 
be jealous. Indeed she does this, but in spite of it she suffers 
every bit as much as she would if she acknowledged this jealousy 
as fully justified. We are agreed to call ideas of this sort, which 
are inaccessible to arguments based on logic or on fact*. 

210 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

"obsessions." Thus the good lady suffers from an "obsession 
of jealousy" that is surely a distinctive characterization for 
this pathological case. 

Having reached this first certainty, our psychiatric interest 
will have become aroused. If we cannot do away with a delu- 
sion by taking reality into account, it can hardly have arisen 
from reality. But the delusion, what is its origin? There are 
delusions of the most widely varied content. "Why is it that in 
our case the content should be jealousy? In what types of 
persons are obsessions liable to occur, and, in particular, obses- 
sions of jealousy? "We would like to turn to the psychiatrist 
with such questions, but here he leaves us in the lurch. There 
is only one of our queries which he heeds. He will examine 
the family history of this woman and perhaps will give us the 
answer: "The people who develop obsessions are those in whose 
families similar and other psychic disturbances have repeatedly 
occurred." In other words, if this lady develops an obsession 
she does so because she was predisposed to it by reason of her 
heredity. That is certainly something, but is it all that we 
want to know ? Is it all that was effective in causing this break- 
down? Shall we be content to assume that it is immaterial, 
accidental and inexplicable why the obsession of jealousy de- 
velops rather than any other? And may we also accept this 
sentence about the dominance of the influence of heredity in 
its negative meaning, that is, that no matter what experiences 
came to this human being she was predestined to develop some 
kind of obsession ? You will want to know why scientific psychi- 
atry will give no further explanation. And I reply, "He is a 
rascal who gives more than he owns." The psychiatrist does 
not know of any path that leads him further in the explanation 
of such a case. He must content himself with the diagnosis and 
a prognosis which, despite a wealth of experience, is uncertain. 

Yet, can psychoanalysis do more at this point? Indeed yes! 
I hope to show you that even in so inaccessible a case as this 
it can discover something which makes the further understanding 
possible. May I ask you first to note the apparently insignifi- 
cant fact that the patient actually provoked the anonymous 
letter which now supports her delusion. The day before, she 
announces to the intriguing chambermaid that if her husband 
were to have an affair with a young girl it would be the worst 

Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry 217 

misfortune that could befall her. By so doing she really gave 
the maid the idea of sending her the anonymous letter. The 
obsession thus attains a certain independence from the letter; 
it existed in the patient beforehand perhaps as a dread j or was 
it a wish? Consider, moreover, these additional details yielded 
by an analysis of only two hours. The patient was indeed most 
helpful when, after telling her story, she was urged to communi- 
cate her further thoughts, ideas and recollections. She declared 
that nothing came to her mind, that she had already told every- 
thing. After two hours the undertaking had really to be given 
up because she announced that she already felt cured and was 
sure that the morbid idea would not return. Of course, she said 
this because of this resistance and her fear of continuing the 
analysis. In these two hours, however, she had let fall certain 
remarks which made possible definite interpretation, indeed 
made it incontestable; and this interpretation throws a clear 
light on the origin of her obsession of jealousy. Namely, she 
herself was very much infatuated with a certain young man, the 
very same son-in-law upon whose urging she had come to con- 
sult me professionally. She knew nothing of this infatuation, 
or at least only a very little. Because of the existing relation- 
ship, it was very easy for this infatuation to masquerade under 
the guise of harmless tenderness. With all our further experi- 
ence it is not difficult to feel our way toward an understanding 
of the psychic life of this honest woman and good mother. Such 
an infatuation, a monstrous, impossible thing, could not be 
allowed to become conscious. But it continued to exist and 
unconsciously exerted a heavy pressure. Something had to 
happen, some sort of relief had to be found and the mechanism 
of displacement which so constantly takes part in the origin of 
obsessional jealousy offered the most immediate mitigation. If 
not only she, old woman that she was, was in love with a young 
man but if also her old husband had an affair with a young 
girl, then she would be freed from the voice of her conscience 
which accused her of infidelity. The phantasy of her husband's 
infidelity was thus like a cooling salve on her burning wound. 
Of her own love she never became conscious, but the reflection 
of it, which would bring her such advantages, now became com- 
pulsive, obsessional and conscious. Naturally all arguments di- 
rected against the obsession were of no avail since they were 

218 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

directed only to the reflection, and not to the original force to 
which it owed its strength and which, unimpeachable, lay buried 
in the unconscious. 

Let us now piece together these fragments to see what a short 
and impeded psychoanalysis can nevertheless contribute to the 
understanding of this case. It is assumed of course that our 
inquiries were carefully conducted, a point which I cannot at 
this place submit to your judgment. In the first place, the obses- 
sion becomes no longer nonsensical nor incomprehensible, it is 
full of meaning, well motivated and an integral part of the 
patient's emotional experience. Secondly, it is a necessary re- 
action toward an unconscious psychological process, revealed in 
other ways, and it is to this very circumstance that it owes its 
obsessional nature, that is, its resistance to arguments based on 
logic or fact. In itself the obsession is something wished for, 
a kind of consolation. Finally, the experiences underlying the 
condition are such as unmistakably determine an obsession of 
jealousy and no other. You will also recognize the part played 
by the two important analogies in the analysis of the symp- 
tomatic act with reference to its meaning and intent and also 
to its relation to an unconscious factor in the situation. 

Naturally, we have not yet answered all the questions which 
may be put on the basis of this case. Rather the case bristles 
with further problems of a kind which we have not yet been 
able to solve in any way, and of others which could not be solved 
because of the disadvantage of the circumstances under which 
we were working. For example: why is this happily married 
woman open to an infatuation for her son-in-law, and why does 
the relief which could have been obtained in other ways come 
to her by way of this mirror-image, this projection of her own 
condition upon her husband ? I trust you will not think that it 
is idle and wanton to open such problems. Already we have 
much material at our disposal for their possible solution. This 
woman is in that critical age when her sexual needs undergo a 
sudden and unwelcome exaggeration. This might in itself be 
sufficient. In addition, her good and faithful mate may for 
many years have been lacking in that sufficient sexual capacity 
which the well-preserved woman needs for her satisfaction. We 
have learned by experience to know that those very men whose 
faithfulness is thus placed beyond a doubt are most gentle in 

Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry 219 

their treatment of their wives and unusually forbearing toward 
their nervous complaints. Furthermore, the fact that it was 
just the young husband of a daughter who became the object of 
her abnormal infatuation is by no means insignificant. A strong 
erotic attachment to the daughter, which in the last analysis 
leads back to the mother's sexual constitution, will often find 
a way to live on under such a disguise. May I perhaps remind 
you in this connection that the relationship between mother and 
son-in-law has seemed particularly delicate since all time and is 
one which among primitive peoples gave rise to very powerful 
taboos and avoidances. 1 It often transgresses our cultural 
standards positively as well as negatively. I cannot tell you 
of course which of these three factors were at work in our case ; 
whether two of them only, or whether all of them cooperated, 
for as you know I did not have the opportunity to continue the 
analysis beyond two hours. 

I realize at this point, ladies and gentlemen, that I have been 
speaking entirely of things for which your understanding was 
not prepared. I did this in order to carry through the com- 
parison of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. May I now ask one 
thing of you? Have you noticed any contradiction between 
them? Psychiatry does not apply the technical methods of 
psychoanalysis, and neglects to look for any significance in the 
content of the obsession. Instead of first seeking out more 
specific and immediate causes, psychiatry refers us to the very 
general and remote source heredity. But does this imply a 
contradiction, a conflict between them? Do they not rather 
supplement one another? For does the hereditary factor deny 
the significance of the experience, is it not rather true that both 
operate together in the most effective way ? You must admit that 
there is nothing in the nature of psychiatric work which must 
repudiate psychoanalytic research. Therefore, it is the psychi- 
atrists who oppose psychoanalysis, not psychiatry itself. Psycho- 
analysis stands in about the same relation to psychiatry as does 
histology to anatomy. The one studies the outer forms of organs, 
the other the closer structure of tissues and cells. A contradic- 
tion between two types of study, where one simplifies the other, 
is not easily conceivable. You know that anatomy to-day forms 
the basis of scientific medicine, but there was a time when the 

1 Compare 8. Freud, Totem and Taboo. 1913. 

220 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

dissection of human corpses to learn the inner structure of the 
body was as much frowned upon as the practice of psycho- 
analysis, which seeks to ascertain the inner workings of the 
human soul, seems proscribed to-day. And presumably a not too 
distant time will bring us to the realization that a psychiatry 
which aspires to scientific depth is not possible without a real 
knowledge of the deeper unconscious processes in the psychic 

Perhaps this much-attacked psychoanalysis has now found 
some friends among you who are anxious to see it justify itself 
as well from another aspect, namely, the therapeutic side. You 
know that the therapy of psychiatry has hitherto not been able 
to influence obsessions. Can psychoanalysis perhaps do so, 
thanks to its insight into the mechanism of these symptoms? 
No, ladies and gentlemen, it cannot; for the present at least it 
is just as powerless in the face of these maladies as every other 
therapy. We can understand what it was that happened within 
the patient, but we have no means of making the patient him- 
self understand this. In fact, I told you that I could not extend 
the analysis of the obsession beyond the first steps. Would you 
therefore assert that analysis is objectionable in such cases be- 
cause it remains without result? I think not. We have the 
right, indeed we have the duty to pursue scientific research 
without regard to an immediate practical effect. Some day, 
though we do not know when or where, every little scrap of 
knowledge will have been translated into skill, even into thera- 
peutic skill. If psychoanalysis were as unsuccessful in all other 
forms of nervous and psychological disease as it is in the case 
of the obsession, it would nevertheless remain fully justified as 
an irreplaceable method of scientific research. It is true that 
we would then not be in a position to practice it, for the human 
subjects from which we must learn, live and will in their own 
right; they must have motives of their own in order to assist 
in the work, but they would deny themselves to us. Therefore 
let me conclude this session by telling you that there are compre- 
hensive groups of nervous diseases concerning which our better 
understanding has actually been translated into therapeutic 
power; moreover, that in disturbances which are most difficult 
to reach we can under certain conditions secure results which 
are second to none in the field of internal therapeutics. 



The Meaning of the Symptoms 

IN the last lecture I explained to you that clinical psychiatry 
concerns itself very little with the form under which the 
symptoms appear or with the burden they carry, but that 
it is precisely here that psychoanalysis steps in and shows 
that the symptom carries a meaning and is connected with the 
experience of the patient. The meaning of neurotic symptoms 
was first discovered by J. Breuer in the study and felicitous cure 
of a case of hysteria which has since become famous (1880-82). 
It is true that P. Janet independently reached the same result ; 
literary priority must in fact be accorded to the French scholar, 
since Breuer published his observations more than a decade later 
(1893-95) during his period of collaboration with me. On the 
whole it may be of small importance to us who is responsible for 
this discovery, for you know that every discovery is made more 
than once, that none is made all at once, and that success is 
not meted out according to deserts. America is not named after 
Columbus. Before Breuer and Janet, the great psychiatrist 
Leuret expressed the opinion that even for the deliria of the 
insane, if we only understood how to interpret them, a meaning 
could be found. I confess that for a considerable period of 
time I was willing to estimate very highly the credit due to 
P. Janet in the explanation of neurotic symptoms, because he 
Baw in them the expression of subconscious ideas (idees incon 
scientes) with which the patients were obsessed. But since then 
Janet has expressed himself most conservatively, as though he 
wanted to confess that the term "subconscious" had been for 
him nothing more than a mode of speech, a shift, "une fafon de 
parler," by the use of which he had nothing definite in mind. 
I now no longer understand Janet's discussions, but I believe 
that he has needlessly deprived himself of high credit. 

The neurotic symptoms then have their meaning just like 
errors and the dream, and like these they are related to the lives 


222 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

of the persons in whom they appear. The importance of thi 
insight into the nature of the symptom can best be brought home 
to you by way of examples. That it is borne out always and in 
all cases, I can only assert, not prove. He who gathers his own 
experience will be convinced of it. For certain reasons, how- 
ever, I shall draw my instances not from hysteria, but from 
another fundamentally related and very curious neurosis con- 
cerning which I wish to say a few introductory words to you. 
This so-called compulsion neurosis is not so popular as the 
widely known hysteria ; it is, if I may use the expression, not so 
noisily ostentatious, behaves more as a private concern of the 
patient, renounces bodily manifestations almost entirely and 
creates all its symptoms psychologically. Compulsion neurosis 
and hysteria are those forms of neurotic disease by the study of 
which psychoanalysis has been built up, and in whose treatment 
as well the therapy celebrates its triumphs. Of these the com- 
pulsion neurosis, which does not take that mysterious leap from 
the psychic to the physical, has through psychoanalytic research 
become more intimately comprehensible and transparent to us 
than hysteria, and we have come to understand that it reveals 
far more vividly certain extreme characteristics of the neuroses. 
The chief manifestations of compulsion neurosis are these: 
the patient is occupied by thoughts that in reality do not interest 
him, is moved by impulses that appear alien to him, and is im- 
pelled to actions which, to be sure, afford him no pleasure, but 
the performance of which he cannot possibly resist. The 
thoughts may be absurd in themselves or thoroughly indifferent 
to the individual, often they are absolutely childish and in all 
cases they are the result of strained thinking, which exhausts 
the patient, who surrenders himself to them most unwillingly. 
Against his will he is forced to brood and speculate as though 
it were a matter of life or death to him. The impulses, which 
the patient feels within himself, may also give a childish or 
ridiculous impression, but for the most part they bear the 
terrifying aspect of temptations to fearful crimes, so that the 
patient not only denies them, but flees from them in horror and 
protects himself from actual execution of his desires through 
inhibitory renunciations and restrictions upon his personal lib- 
erty. As a matter of fact he never, not a single time, carries 
any of these impulses into effect; the result is always that his 

The Meaning of the Symptoms 223 

evasion and precaution triumph. The patient really carries out 
only very harmless trivial acts, so-called compulsive acts, for 
the most part repetitions and ceremonious additions to the occu- 
pations of every-day life, through which its necessary perform- 
ances going to bed, washing, dressing, walking become long- 
winded problems of almost insuperable difficulty. The abnormal 
ideas, impulses and actions are in nowise equally potent in 
individual forms and cases of compulsion neurosis ; it is the rule, 
rather, that one or the other of these manifestations is the 
dominating factor, and gives the name to the disease ; that all 
these forms, however, have a great deal in common is quite 

Surely this means violent suffering. I believe that the wildest 
psychiatric phantasy could not have succeeded in deriving any- 
thing comparable, and if one did not actually see it every day, 
one could hardly bring oneself to believe it. Do not think, how- 
ever, that you give the patient any help when you coax him to 
divert himself, to put aside these stupid ideas and to set himself 
to something useful in the place of his whimsical occupations. 
This is just what he would like of his own accord, for he pos- 
sesses all his senses, shares your opinion of his compulsion symp- 
toms, in fact volunteers it quite readily. But he cannot do 
otherwise; whatever activities actually are released under com- 
pulsion neurosis are carried along by a driving energy, such as 
is probably never met with in normal psychic life. He has only 
one remedy to transfer and change. In place of one stupid 
idea he can think of a somewhat milder absurdity, he can pro- 
ceed from one precaution and prohibition to another, or carry 
through another ceremonial. He may shift, but he cannot 
annul the compulsion. One of the chief characteristics of the 
sickness is the instability of the symptoms ; they can be shifted 
very far from their original form. It is moreover striking that 
the contrasts present in all psychological experience are so very 
sharply drawn in this condition. In addition to the compulsion 
of positive and negative content, an intellectual doubt makes 
itself felt that gradually attacks the most ordinary and assured 
certainties. All these things merge into steadily increasing un- 
certainty, lack of energy, curtailment of personal liberty, despite 
the fact that the patient suffering from compulsion neurosis is 
originally a most energetic character, often of extraordinary ob- 

224 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ptinacy, as a rule intellectually gifted above the average. For 
the most part he has attained a desirable stage of ethical de- 
velopment, is overconscientious and more than usually correct. 
You can imagine that it takes no inconsiderable piece of work 
to find one's way through this maze of contradictory characteris- 
tics and symptoms. Indeed, for the present our only object is to 
understand and to interpret some symptoms of this disease. 

Perhaps in reference to our previous discussions, you would 
like to know the position of present-day psychiatry to the prob- 
lems of the compulsion neurosis. This is covered in a very slim 
chapter. Psychiatry gives names to the various forms of com- 
pulsion, but says nothing further concerning them. Instead it 
emphasizes the fact that those who show these symptoms are 
degenerates. That yields slight satisfaction, it is an ethical 
judgment, a condemnation rather than an explanation. We are 
led to suppose that it is in the unsound that all these peculiari- 
ties may be found. Now we do believe that persons who develop 
such symptoms must differ fundamentally from other people. 
But we would like to ask, are they more "degenerate" than other 
nervous patients, those suffering, for instance, from hysteria or 
other diseases of the mind? The characterization is obviously 
too general. One may even doubt whether it is at all justified, 
when one learns that such symptoms occur in excellent men 
and women of especially great and universally recognized ability. 
In general we glean very little intimate knowledge of the great 
men who serve us as models. This is due both to their own dis- 
cretion and to the lying propensities of their biographers. Some- 
times, however, a man is a fanatic disciple of truth, such as 
Emile Zola, and then we hear from him the strange compulsion 
habits from which he suffered all his life. 1 

Psychiatry has resorted to the expedient of speaking of 
"superior degenerates." Very well but through psychoanalysis 
we have learned that these peculiar compulsion symptoms may 
be permanently removed just like any other disease of normal 
persons. I myself have frequently succeeded in doing this. 

I will give you two examples only of the analysis of compul- 
sion symptoms, one, an old observation, which cannot be replaced 
by anything more complete, and one a recent study. I am limit- 
ing myself to such a small number because in an account of this 

*E. Toulouse, Emile Zola Enquete medico psychologique, Paris, 1896. 

The Meaning of the Symptoms 225 

nature it is necessary to be very explicit and to enter into every 

A lady about thirty years old suffered from the most severe 
compulsions. I might indeed have helped her if caprice of 
fortune had not destroyed my work perhaps I will yet have 
occasion to tell you about it. In the course of each day the 
patient often executed, among others, the following strange com- 
pulsive act. She ran from her room into an adjoining one, 
placed herself in a definite spot beside a table which stood in 
the middle of the room, rang for her maid, gave her a trivial 
errand to do, or dismissed her without more ado, and then ran 
back again. This was certainly not a severe symptom of disease, 
but it still deserved to arouse curiosity. Its explanation was 
found, absolutely without any assistance on the part of the 
physician, in the very simplest way, a way to which no one can 
take exception. I hardly know how I alone could have guessed 
the meaning of this compulsive act, or have found any sugges- 
tion toward its interpretation. As often as I had asked the 
patient: "Why do you do this? Of what use is it?" she had 
answered, "I don't know." But one day after I had succeeded 
in surmounting a grave ethical doubt of hers she suddenly saw 
the light and related the history of the compulsive act. More 
than ten years prior she had married a man far older than 
herself, who had proved impotent on the bridal night. Countless 
times during the night he had run from his room to hers to 
repeat the attempt, but each time without success. In the morn- 
ing he said angrily: "It is enough to make one ashamed before 
the maid who does the beds," and took a bottle of red ink that 
happened to be in the room, and poured its contents on the sheet, 
but not on the place where such a stain would have been justi- 
fiable. At first I did not understand the connection between 
this reminiscence and the compulsive act in question, for the 
only agreement I could find between them was in the running 
from one room into another, possibly also in the appearance 
of the maid. Then the patient led me to the table in the second 
room and let me discover a large spot on the cover. She ex- 
plained also that she placed herself at the table in such a way 
that the maid could not miss seeing the stain. Now it was no 
longer possible to doubt the intimate relation of the scene after 

226 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

her bridal night and her present compulsive act, but there were 
still a number of things to be learned about it. 

In the first place, it is obvious that the patient identifies her- 
self with her husband, she is acting his part in her imitation 
of his running from one room into the other. We must then 
admit if she holds to this role that she replaces the bed and 
sheet by table and cover. This may seem arbitrary, but we have 
not studied dream symbolism in vain. In dreams also a table 
which must be interpreted as a bed, is frequently seen. "Bed 
and board" together represent married life, one may therefore 
easily be used to represent the other. 

The evidence that the compulsive act carries meaning would 
thus be plain; it appears as a representation, a repetition of 
the original significant scene. However, we are not forced to 
stop at this semblance of a solution; when we examine more 
closely the relation between these two people, we shall probably 
be enlightened concerning something of wider importance, 
namely, the purpose of the compulsive act. The nucleus of this 
purpose is evidently the summoning of the maid; to her she 
wishes to show the stain and refute her husband's remark: 
"It is enough to shame one before the maid." He whose part 
she is playing therefore feels no shame before the maid, hence 
the stain must be in the right place. So we see that she has 
not merely repeated the scene, rather she has amplified it, cor- 
rected it and "turned it to the good." Thereby, however, she 
also corrects something else, the thing which was so embarrass- 
ing that night and necessitated the use of the red ink im- 
potence. The compulsive act then says: "No, it is not true, he 
did not have to be ashamed before the maid, he was not im- 
potent." After the manner of a dream she represents the 
fulfillment of this wish in an overt action, she is ruled by the 
desire to help her husband over that unfortunate incident. 

Everything else that I could tell you about this case supports 
this clue more specifically ; all that we otherwise know about her 
tends to strengthen this interpretation of a compulsive act 
incomprehensible in itself. For years the woman has lived sep- 
arated from her husband and is struggling with the intention 
to obtain a legal divorce. But she is by no means free from 
him; she forces herself to remain faithful to him, she retires 
from the world to avoid temptation; in her imagination she 

The Meaning of the Symptoms 227 

excuses and idealizes him. The deepest secret of her malady is 
that by means of it she shields her husband from malicious 
gossip, justifies her separation from him, and renders possible 
for him a comfortable separate life. Thus the analysis of a 
harmless compulsive act leads to the very heart of this case and 
at the same time reveals no inconsiderable portion of the secret 
of the compulsion neurosis in general. I shall be glad to have 
you dwell upon this instance, as it combines conditions that one 
can scarcely demand in other cases. The interpretation of the 
symptoms was discovered by the patient herself in one flash, 
without the suggestion or interference of the analyst. It came 
about by the reference to an experience, which did not, as is 
usually the case, belong to the half-forgotten period of childhood, 
but to the mature life of the patient, in whose memory it had 
remained unobliterated. All the objections which critics ordi- 
narily offer to our interpretation of symptoms fail in this case 
Of course, we are not always so fortunate. 

And one thing more ! Have you not observed how this insig- 
nificant compulsive act initiated us into the intimate life of the 
invalid? A woman can scarcely relate anything more intimate 
than the story of her bridal night, and is it without further 
significance that we just happened to come on the intimacies of 
her sexual life ? It might of course be the result of the selection 
I have made in this instance. Let us not judge too quickly and 
turn our attention to the second instance, one of an entirely 
different kind, a sample of a frequently occurring variety, 
namely, the sleep ritual. 

A nineteen-year old, well-developed, gifted girl, an only child, 
who was superior to her parents in education and intellectual 
activity, had been wild and mischievous in her childhood, but 
has become very nervous during the last years without any 
apparent outward cause. She is especially irritable with her 
mother, always discontented, depressed, has a tendency toward 
indecision and doubt, and is finally forced to confess that she 
can no longer walk alone on public squares or wide thorough- 
fares. "We shall not consider at length her complicated con- 
dition, which requires at least two diagnoses agoraphobia and 
compulsion neurosis. We will dwell only upon the fact that this 
girl has also developed a sleep ritual, under which she allows 
her parents to suffer much discomfort. In a certain sense, we 

228 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

may say that every normal person has a sleep ritual, in other 
words that he insists on certain conditions, the absence of which 
hinders him from falling asleep; he has created certain ob- 
servances by which he bridges the transition from waking to 
sleeping and these he repeats every evening in the same manner. 
But everything that the healthy person demands in order to 
obtain sleep is easily understandable and, above all, when ex- 
ternal conditions necessitate a change, he adapts himself easily 
and without loss of time. But the pathological ritual is rigid, 
it persists by virtue of the greatest sacrifices, it also masks itself 
with a reasonable justification and seems, in the light of super- 
ficial observation, to differ from the normal only by exaggerated 
pedantry. But under closer observation we notice that the mask 
is transparent, for the ritual covers intentions that go far beyond 
this reasonable justification, and other intentions as well that 
are in direct contradietion to this reasonable justification. Our 
patient cites as the motive of her nightly precautions that she 
must have quiet in order to sleep; therefore she excludes all 
sources of noise. To accomplish this, she does two things: the 
large clock in her room is stopped, all other clocks are removed ; 
not even the wrist watch on her night-table is suffered to remain. 
Flowerpots and vases are placed on her desk so that they cannot 
fall down during the night, and in breaking disturb her sleep. 
She knows that these precautions are scarcely justifiable for the 
sake of quiet ; the ticking of the small watch could not be heard 
even if it should remain on the night-table, and moreover we 
all know that the regular ticking of a clock is conducive to 
sleep rather than disturbing. She does admit that there is not 
the least probability that flowerpots and vases left in place 
might of their own accord fall and break during the night. She 
drops the pretense of quiet for the other practice of this sleep 
ritual. She seems on the contrary to release a source of dis- 
turbing noises by the demand that the door between her own 
room and that of her parents remain half open, and she insures 
this condition by placing various objects in front of the open 
door. The most important observances concern the bed itself. 
The large pillow at the head of the bed may not touch the 
wooden back of the bed. The small pillow for her head must 
lie on the large pillow to form a rhomb; she then places her 
head exactly upon the diagonal of the rhomb. Before covering 

The Meaning of the Symptoms 229 

herself, the featherbed must be shaken so that its foot end 
becomes quite flat, but she never omits to press this down and 
redistribute the thickness. 

Allow me to pass over the other trivial incidents of this ritual ; 
they would teach us nothing new and cause too great digression 
from our purpose. Do not overlook, however, the fact that all 
this does not run its course quite smoothly. Everything is 
pervaded by the anxiety that things have not been done properly ; 
they must be examined, repeated. Her doubts seize first on one, 
then on another precaution, and the result is that one or two 
hours elapse during which the girl cannot and the intimidated 
parents dare not sleep. 

These torments were not so easily analyzed as the compulsive 
act of our former patient. In the working out of the interpreta- 
tions I had to hint and suggest to the girl, and was met on her 
part either by positive denial or mocking doubt. This first re- 
action of denial, however, was followed by a time when she 
occupied herself of her own accord with the possibilities that 
had been suggested, noted the associations they called out, pro- 
duced reminiscences, and established connections, until through 
her own efforts she had reached and accepted all interpretations. 
In so far as she did this, she desisted as well from the per- 
formance of her compulsive rules, and even before the treatment 
had ended she had given up the entire ritual. You must also 
know that the nature of present-day analysis by no means enables 
us to follow out each individual symptom until its meaning be- 
comes clear. Bather it is necessary to abandon a given theme 
again and again, yet with the certainty that we will be led 
back to it in some other connection. The interpretation of the 
symptoms in this case, which I am about to give you, is a 
synthesis of results, which, with the interruptions of other work, 
needed weeks and months for their compilation. 

Our patient gradually learns to understand that she has 
banished clocks and watches from her room during the night 
because the clock is the symbol of the female genital. The clock, 
which we have learned to interpret as a symbol for other things 
also, receives this role of the genital organ through its relation 
to periodic occurrences at equal intervals. A woman may for 
Instance be found to boast that her menstruation is as regular 
as clockwork The special fear of our patient, however, was 

230 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

that the ticking of the clock would disturb her in her sleep. The 
ticking of the clock may be compared to the throbbing of the 
clitoris during sexual excitement. Frequently she had actually 
been awakened by this painful sensation and now this fear of 
an erection of the clitoris caused her to remove all ticking clocks 
during the night. Flowerpots and vases are, as are all vessels, 
also female symbols. The precaution, therefore, that they should 
not fall and break at night, was not without meaning. We know 
the widespread custom of breaking a plate or dish when an 
engagement is celebrated. The fragment of which each guest 
possesses himself symbolizes his renunciation of his claim to the 
bride, a renunciation which we may assume as based on the 
monogamous marriage law. Furthermore, to this part of her 
ceremonial our patient adds a reminiscence and several associa- 
tions. As a child she had slipped once and fallen with a bowl 
of glass or clay, had cut her finger, and bled violently. As she 
grew up and learned the facts of sexual intercourse, she de- 
veloped the fear that she might not bleed during her bridal 
night and so not prove to be a virgin. Her precaution against 
the breaking of vases was a rejection of the entire virginity 
complex, including the bleeding connected with the first co- 
habitation. She rejected both the fear to bleed and the contra- 
dictory fear not to bleed. Indeed her precautions had very little 
to do with a prevention of noise. 

One day she guessed the central idea of her ceremonial, when 
she suddenly understood her rule not to let the pillow come in 
contact with the bed. The pillows always had seemed a woman 
to her, the erect back of the bed a man. By means of magic, 
we may say, she wished to keep apart man and wife ; it was her 
parents she wished to separate, so to prevent their marital 
intercourse. She had sought to attain the same end by more 
direct methods in earlier years, before the institution of her 
ceremonial. She had simulated fear or exploited a genuine 
timidity in order to keep open the door between the parents' 
bedroom and the nursery. This demand had been retained in 
her present ceremonial. Thus she had gained the opportunity 
of overhearing her parents, a proceeding which at one time 
subjected her to months of sleeplessness. Not content with this 
disturbance to her parents, she was at that time occasionally 
able to gain her point and sleep between father and mother in 

The Meaning of the Symptoms 231 

their very bed. Then "pillow" and "wooden wall" could 
really not come in contact. Finally when she became so big 
that her presence between the parents could not longer be 
borne comfortably, she consciously simulated fear and actually 
succeeded in changing places with her mother and taking her 
place at her father's side. This situation was undoubtedly the 
starting point for the phantasies, whose after-effects made them- 
selves felt in her ritual. 

If a pillow represented a woman, then the shaking of the 
featherbed till all the feathers were lumped at one end, rounding 
it into a prominence, must have its meaning also. It meant the 
impregnation of the wife ; the ceremonial, however, never failed 
to provide for the annulment of this pregnancy by the flattening 
down of the feathers. Indeed, for years our patient had feared 
that the intercourse between her parents might result in another 
child which would be her rival. Now, where the large pillow 
represents a woman, the mother, then the small pillow could be 
nothing but the daughter. Why did this pillow have to be 
placed so as to form a rhomb ; and why did the girl's head have 
to rest exactly upon the diagonal? It was easy to remind the 
patient that the rhomb on all walls is the rune used to represent 
the open female genital. She herself then played the part of 
the man, the father, and her head took the place of the male 
organ. (Cf. the symbol of beheading to represent castration.) 

Wild ideas, you will say, to run riot in the head of a virgin 
girl. I admit it, but do not forget that I have not created these 
ideas but merely interpreted them. A sleep ritual of this kind 
is itself very strange, and you cannot deny the correspondence 
between the ritual and the phantasies that yielded us the inter- 
pretation. For my part I am most anxious that you observe in 
this connection that no single phantasy was projected in the 
ceremonial, but a number of them had to be integrated, they 
must have their nodal points somewhere in space. Observe also 
that the observance of the ritual reproduce the sexual desire 
now positively, now negatively, and serve in part as their 
rejection, again as their representation. 

It would be possible to make a better analysis of this ritual by 
relating it to other symptoms of the patient. But we cannot 
digress in that direction. Let the suggestion suffice that the 
girl is subject to an erotic attachment to her father, the begin- 

232 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ning of which goes back to her earliest childhood. That perhaps 
is the reason for her unfriendly attitude toward her mother. 
Also we cannot escape the fact that the analysis of this symp- 
tom again points to the sexual life of the patient. The more 
we penetrate to the meaning and purpose of neurotic symptoms, 
the less surprising will this seem to us. 

By means of two selected illlustrations I have demonstrated 
to you that neurotic symptoms carry just as much meaning as 
do errors and the dream, and that they are intimately connected 
with the experience of the patient. Can I expect you to believe 
this vitally significant statement on the strength of two exam- 
ples? No. But can you expect me to cite further illustrations 
until you declare yourself convinced? That too is impossible, 
since considering the explicitness with which I treat each indi- 
vidual case, I would require a five-hour full semester course for 
the explanation of this one point in the theory of the neuroses. 
I must content myself then with having given you one proof 
for my assertion and refer you for the rest to the literature 
of the subject, above all to the classical interpretation of symp- 
toms in Breuer's first case (hysteria) as well as to the striking 
clarification of obscure symptoms in the so-called dementia 
praecox by C. G. Jung, dating from the time when this scholar 
was still content to be a mere psychoanalyst and did not yet 
want to a prophet ; and to all the articles that have subsequently 
appeared in our periodicals. It is precisely investigations of this 
sort which are plentiful. Psychoanalysts have felt themselves 
so much attracted by the analysis, interpretation and translation 
of neurotic symptoms, that by contrast they seem temporarily 
to have neglected other problems of neurosis. 

Whoever among you takes the trouble to look into the matter 
will undoubtedly be deeply impressed by the wealth of evidential 
material. But he will also encounter difficulties. We have 
learned that the meaning of a symptom is found in its relation 
to the experience of the patient. The more highly individualized 
the symptom is, the sooner we may hope to establish these rela- 
tions. Therefore the task resolves itself specifically into the 
discovery for every nonsensical idea and useless action of a past 
situation wherein the idea had been justified and the action 
purposeful. A perfect example for this kind of symptom is the 
compulsive act of our patient who ran to the table and rang 

The Meaning of the Symptoms 233 

for the maid. But there are symptoms of a very different 
nature which are by no means rare. They must be called 
typical symptoms of the disease, for they are approximately 
alike in all cases, in which the individual differences disappear 
or shrivel to such an extent that it is difficult to connect them 
with the specific experiences of the patient and to relate them 
to the particular situations of his past. Let us again direct our 
attention to the compulsion neurosis. The sleep ritual of our 
second patient is already quite typical, but bears enough indi- 
vidual features to render possible what may be called an historic 
interpretation. But all compulsive patients tend to repeat, to 
isolate their actions from others and to subject them to a 
rhythmic sequence. Most of them wash too much. Agoraphobia 
(topophobia, fear of spaces), a malady which is no longer 
grouped with the compulsion neurosis, but is now called anxiety 
hysteria, invariably shows the same pathological picture ; it re- 
peats with exhausting monotony the same feature, the patient's 
fear of closed spaces, of large open squares, of long stretched 
streets and parkways, and their feeling of safety when ac- 
quaintances accompany them, when a carriage drives after them, 
etc. On this identical groundwork, however, the individual dif- 
ferences between the patients are superimposed moods one 
might almost call them, which are sharply contrasted in the 
various cases. The one fears only narrow streets, the other only 
wide ones, the one can go out walking only when there are few 
people abroad, the other when there are many. Hysteria also, 
aside from its wealth of individual features, has a superfluity 
of common typical symptoms that appear to resist any facile 
historical methods of tracing them. But do not let us forget 
that it is by these typical symptoms that we get our bearings 
in reaching a diagnosis. When, in one case of hysteria we have 
finally traced back a typical symptom to an experience or a 
series of similar experiences, for instance followed back an 
hysterical vomiting to its origin in a succession of disgust im- 
pressions, another case of vomiting will confuse us by revealing 
an entirely different chain of experiences, seemingly just as 
effective. It seems almost as though hysterical patients must 
vomit for some reason as yet unknown, and that the historic 
factors, revealed by analysis, are chance pretexts, seized on as 

234 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

opportunity best offered to serve the purposes of a deeper need. 

Thus we soon reach the discouraging conclusion that although 
we can satisfactorily explain the individual neurotic symptom 
by relating it to an experience, our science fails us when it comes 
to the typical symptoms that occur far more frequently. In 
addition, remember that I am not going into all the detailed 
difficulties which come up in the course of resolutely hunting 
down an historic interpretation of the symptom. I have no 
intention of doing this, for though I want to keep nothing 
from you, and so paint everything in its true colors, I still 
do not wish to confuse and discourage you at the very outset 
of our studies. It is true that we have only begun to under- 
stand the interpretation of symptoms, but we wish to hold fast 
to the results we have achieved, and struggle forward step by 
step toward the mastery of the still unintelligible data. I there- 
fore try to cheer you with the thought that a fundamenal dif- 
ference between the two kinds of symptoms can scarcely be 
assumed. Since the individual symptoms are so obviously de- 
pendent upon the experience of the patient, there is a possibility 
that the typical symptoms revert to an experience that is in 
itself typical and common to all humanity. Other regularly 
recurring features of neurosis, such as the repetition and doubt 
of the compulsion neurosis, may be universal reactions which 
are forced upon the patient by the very nature of the abnormal 
change. In short, we have no reason to be prematurely dis- 
couraged ; we shall see what our further results will yield. 

"We meet a very similar difficulty in the theory of dreams, 
which in our previous discussion of the dream I could not go 
into. The manifest content of dreams is most profuse and indi- 
vidually varied, and I have shown very explicitly what analy- 
sis may glean from this content. But side by side with these 
dreams there are others which may also be termed "typical" 
and which occur similarly in all people. These are dreams of 
identical content which offer the same difficulties for their in- 
terpretation as the typical symptom. They are the dreams of 
falling, flying, floating, swimming, of being hemmed in, of naked- 
ness, and various other anxiety dreams that yield first one and 
then another interpretation for the different patients, without 
resulting in an explanation of their monotonous and typical 

The Meaning of the Symptoms 235 

recurrence. In the matter of these dreams also, we see a f unda 
mental groundwork enriched by individual additions. Probably 
they as well can be fitted into the theory of dream life, built 
up on tho basis of other dreams, not however by straining the 
point, but by the gradual broadening of our views. 



Traumatic Fixation The Unconscious 

I SAID last time that we would not continue our work from 
the standpoint of our doubts, but on the basis of our results. 
"We have not even touched upon two of the most interest' 
ing conclusions, derived equally from the same two sample 

In the first place, both patients give us the impression of being 
fixated upon some very definite part of their past; they are 
unable to free themselves therefrom, and have therefore come 
to be completely estranged both from the present and the future. 
They are now isolated in their ailment, just as in earlier days 
people withdrew into monasteries there to carry along the 
burden of their unhappy fates. In the case of the first patient, 
it is her marriage with her husband, really abandoned, that 
has determined her lot. By means of her symptoms she con- 
tinues to deal with her husband; we have learned to under- 
stand those voices which plead his case, which excuse him, exalt 
him, lament his loss. Although she is young and might be 
coveted by other men, she has seized upon all manner of real 
and imaginary (magic) precautions to safeguard her virtue 
for him. She will not appear before strangers, she neglects 
her personal appearance ; furthermore, she cannot bring herself 
to get up readily from any chair on which she has been seated. 
She refuses to give her signature, and finally, since she is 
motivated by her desire not to let anyone have anything of 
hers, she is unable to give presents. 

In the case of the second patient, the young girl, it is an 
erotic attachment for her father that had established itself 
in the years prior to puberty, which plays the same role in her 
life. She also has arrived at the conclusion that she may not 
marry so long as she is sick. We may suspect she became ill 
in order that she need not marry, and that she might stay with 
her father. 


Traumatic Fixation the Unconscious 237 

It is impossible to evade the question of how, in what manner, 
and driven by what motives, an individual may come by such a 
remarkable and unprofitable attitude toward life. Granted 
of course that this bearing is a general characteristic of neurosis, 
and not a special peculiarity of these two cases, it is neverthe- 
less a general trait in every neurosis of very great importance 
in practice. Breuer's first hysterical patient was fixated in the 
same manner upon the time when she nursed her very sick 
father. In spite of her recuperation she has, in certain respects, 
since that time, been done with life; although she remained 
healthy and able, she did not enter on the normal life of women. 
In every one of our patients we may see, by the use of analysis, 
that in his disease-symptoms and their results he has gone back 
again into a definite period of his past. In the majority of cases 
he even chooses a very early phase of his life, sometime a child- 
hood phase, indeed, laughable as it may appear, a phase of his 
very suckling existence. 

The closest analogies to these conditions of our neurotics are 
furnished by the types of sickness which the war has just now 
made so frequent the so-called traumatic neuroses. Even 
before the war there were such cases after railroad collisions and 
other frightful occurrences which endangered life. The trau- 
matic neuroses are, fundamentally, not the same as the spontane- 
ous neuroses which we have been analysing and treating ; more- 
over, we have not yet succeeded in bringing them within our 
hypotheses, and I hope to be able to make clear to you wherein 
this limitation lies. Yet on one point we may emphasize the 
existence of a complete agreement between the two forms. The 
traumatic neuroses show clear indications that they are grounded 
in a fixation upon the moment of the traumatic disaster. In 
their dreams these patients regularly live over the traumatic 
situation ; where there are attacks of an hysterical type, which 
permit of an analysis, we learn that the attack approximates 
a complete transposition into this situation. It is as if these 
patients had not yet gotten through with the traumatic situation, 
as if it were actually before them as a task which was not yet 
mastered. "We take this view of the matter in all seriousness; 
it shows the way to an economic view of psychic occurrences. 
For the expression "traumatic" has no other than an economic 
meaning, and the disturbance permanently attacks the manage- 

238 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ment of available energy. The traumatic experience is one 
which, in a very short space of time, is able to increase the 
strength of a given stimulus so enormously that its assimilation, 
or rather its elaboration, can no longer be effected by normal 

This analogy tempts us to classify as traumatic those experi- 
ences as well upon which our neurotics appear to be fixated. 
Thus the possibility is held out to us of having found a simple 
determining factor for the neurosis. It would then be com- 
parable to a traumatic disease, and would arise from the inability 
to meet an overpowering emotional experience. As a matter 
of fact this reads like the first formula, by which Breuer and I, 
in 1893-1895, accounted theoretically for our new observations. 
A case such as that of our first patient, the young woman sepa- 
rated from her husband, is very well explained by this con- 
ception. She was not able to get over the unfeasibility of her 
marriage, and has not been able to extricate herself from this 
trauma. But our very next, that of the girl attached to her 
father, shows us that the formula is not sufficiently compre- 
hensive. On the one hand, such baby love of a little girl for her 
father is so usual, and so often outlived that the designation 
"traumatic" would carry no significance; on the other hand, 
the history of the patient teaches us that this first erotic fixation 
apparently passed by harmlessly at the time, and did not again 
appear until many years later in the symptoms of the compulsion 
neurosis. "We see complications before us, the existence of a 
greater wealth of determining factors in the disease, but we also 
suspect that the traumatic viewpoint will not have to be given 
up as wrong ; rather it will have to subordinate itself when it is 
fitted into a different context. 

Here again we must leave the road we have been traveling. 
For the time being, it leads us no further and we have many 
other things to find out before we can go on again. But before 
we leave this subject let us note that the fixation on some par- 
ticular phase of the past has bearings which extend far beyond 
the neurosis. Every neurosis contains such a fixation, but every 
fixation does not lead to a neurosis, nor fall into the same class 
with neuroses, nor even set the conditions for the development 
of a neurosis. Mourning is a type of emotional fixation on a 
theory of the past, which also brings with it the most complete 

Traumatic Fixation the Unconscious 239 

alienation from the present and the future. But mourning is 
sharply distinguished from neuroses that may be designated as 
pathological forms of mourning. 

It also happens that men are brought to complete deadlock by 
a traumatic experience that has so completely shaken the founda- 
tions on which they have built their lives that they give up all 
interest in the present and future, and become completely ab- 
sorbed in their retrospections; but these unhappy persons are 
not necessarily neurotic. "We must not overestimate this one 
feature as a diagnostic for a neurosis, no matter how invariable 
and potent it may be. 

Now let us turn to the second conclusion of our analysis, which 
however we will hardly need to limit subsequently. We have 
spoken of the senseless compulsive activities of our first patient, 
and what intimate memories she disclosed as belonging to them ; 
later we also investigated the connection between experience 
and symptom and thus discovered the purpose hidden behind 
the compulsive activity. But we have entirely omitted one fac- 
tor that deserves our whole attention. As long as the patient 
kept repeating the compulsive activity she did not know that 
it was in any way related with the experience in question. 
The connection between the two was hidden from her, she truth- 
fully answered that she did not know what compelled her to do 
this. Once, suddenly, under the influence of the cure, she hit 
upon the connection and was able to tell it to us. But still she 
did not know of the end in the service of which she performed 
the compulsive activities, the purpose to correct a painful part 
of the past and to place the husband, still loved by her, upon 
a higher level. It took quite a long time and a great deal of 
trouble for her to grasp and admit to me that such a motive 
alone could have been the motive force of the compulsive 

The relation between the scene after the unhappy bridal night 
and the tender motive of the patient yield what we have called 
the meaning of the compulsive activity. But both the 
"whence" and the "why" remained hidden from her as long 
as she continued to carry out the compulsive act. Psycho- 
logical processes had been going on within her for which the 
compulsive act found an expression. She could, in a normal 
frame of mind, observe their effect, but none of the psycho- 

240 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

logical antecedents of her action had come to the knowledge of 
her consciousness. She had acted in just the same manner as a 
hypnotized person to whom Bernheim had given the injunction 
that five minutes after his awakening in the ward he was to 
open an umbrella, and he had carried out this order on awaken- 
ing, but could give no motive for his so doing. "We have exactly 
such facts in mind when we speak of the existence of unconscious 
psychological processes. Let anyone in the world account for 
these facts in a more correct scientific manner, and we will gladly 
withdraw completely our assumption of unconscious psycho- 
logical processes. Until then, however, we shall continue to use 
this assumption, and when anyone wants to bring forward the 
objection that the unconscious can have no reality for science 
and is a mere makeshift, (une fa$on de parler), we must simply 
shrug our shoulders and reject his incomprehensible statement 
resignedly. A strange unreality which can call out such real 
and palpable effects as a compulsion symptom ! 

In our second patient we meet with fundamentally the same 
thing. She had created a decree which she must follow: the 
pillow must not touch the head of the bed; yet she does not 
know how it originated, what its meaning is, nor to what motive 
it owes the source of its power. It is immaterial whether she looks 
upon it with indifference or struggles against it, storms against 
it, determines to overcome it. She must nevertheless follow it 
and carry out its ordinance, though she asks herself, in vain, 
why. One must admit that these symptoms of compulsion 
neurosis offer the clearest evidence for a special sphere of psych- 
logical activity, cut off from the rest. What else could be back 
of these images and impulses, which appear from one knows not 
where, which have such great resistance to all the influences of 
an otherwise normal psychic life ; which give the patient himself 
the impression that here are super-powerful guests from another 
world, immortals mixing in the affairs of mortals. Neurotic 
symptoms lead unmistakably to a conviction of the existence of 
an unconscious psychology, and for that very reason clinical 
psychiatry, which recognizes only a conscious psychology, has 
no explanation other than that they are present as indications 
of a particular kind of degeneration. To be sure, the compulsive 
images and impulses are not themselves unconscious no more so 
than the carrying out of the compulsive-acts escapes conscious 

Traumatic Fixation the Unconscious 241 

observation. They would not have been symptoms had they not 
penetrated through into consciousness. But their psychological 
antecedents as disclosed by the analysis, the associations into 
which we place them by our interpretations, are unconscious, at 
least until we have made them known to the patient during the 
course of the analysis. 

Consider now, in addition, that the facts established in our 
two cases are confirmed in all the symptoms of all neurotic 
diseases, that always and everywhere the meaning of the symp- 
toms is unknown to the sufferer, that analysis shows without 
fail that these symptoms are derivatives of unconscious experi- 
ences which can, under various favorable conditions, become 
conscious. You will understand then that in psychoanalysis 
we cannot do without this unconscious psyche, and are accus- 
tomed to deal with it as with something tangible. Perhaps 
you will also be able to understand how those who know the 
unconscious only as an idea, who have never analyzed, never 
interpreted dreams, or never translated neurotic symptoms into 
meaning and purpose, are most ill-suited to pass an opinion 
on this subject. Let us express our point of view once more. 
Our ability to give meaning to neurotic symptoms by means of 
analytic interpretation is an irrefutable indication of the exist- 
ence of unconscious psychological processes or, if you prefer, 
an irrefutable proof of the necessity for their assumption. 

But that is not all. Thanks to a second discovery of Breuer's, 
for which he alone deserves credit and which appears to me to be 
even more far-reaching, we are able to learn still more con- 
cerning the relationship between the unconscious and the 
neurotic symptom. Not alone is the meaning of the symptoms 
invariably hidden in the unconscious ; but the very existence of 
the symptom is conditioned by its relation to this unconscious. 
You will soon understand me. With Breuer I maintain the 
following: Every time we hit upon a symptom we may con- 
clude that the patient cherishes definite unconscious experiences 
which withhold the meaning of the symptoms. Vice versa, in 
order that the symptoms may come into being, it is also essential 
that this meaning be unconscious. Symptoms are not built up 
out of conscious experiences ; as soon as the unconscious processes 
in question become conscious, the symptom disappears. You 
will at once recognize here the approach to our therapy, a way 

242 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

to make symptoms disappear. It was by these means that 
Breuer actually achieved the recovery of his patient, that is, 
freed her of her symptoms; he found a technique for bringing 
into her consciousness the unconscious experiences that carried 
the meaning of her symptoms, and the symptoms disappeared. 

This discovery of Breuer 's was not the result of a speculation, 
but of a felicitous observation made possible by the cooperation 
of the patient. You should therefore not trouble yourself to 
find things you already know to which you can compare these 
occurrences, rather you should recognize herein a new funda- 
mental fact which in itself is capable of much wider application. 
Toward this further end permit me to go over this ground 
again in a different way. 

The symptom develops as a substitution for something else 
that has remained suppressed. Certain psychological experi- 
ences should normally have become so far elaborated that con- 
sciousness would have attained knowledge of them. This did 
not take place, however, but out of these interrupted and dis- 
turbed processes, imprisoned in the unconscious, the symptom 
arose. That is to say, something in the nature of an interchange 
had been effected; as often as therapeutic measures are suc- 
cessful in again reversing this transposition, psychoanalytic 
therapy solves the problem of the neurotic symptom. 

Accordingly, Breuer 's discovery still remains the foundation 
of psychoanalytic therapy. The assertion that the symptoms 
disappear when one has made their unconscious connections 
conscious, has been borne out by all subsequent research, al- 
though the most extraordinary and unexpected complications 
have been met with in its practical execution. Our therapy 
does its work by means of changing the unconscious into the 
conscious, and is effective only in so far as it has the opportunity 
of bringing about this transformation. 

Now we shall make a hasty digression so that you do not by 
any chance imagine that this therapeutic work is too easy. 
From all we have learned so far, the neurosis would appear as 
the result of a sort of ignorance, the incognizance of psycho- 
logical processes that we should know of. We would thus very 
closely approximate the well-known Socratic teachings, accord- 
ing to which evil itself is the result of ignorance. Now the 
experienced physician will, as a rule, discover fairly readily 

Traumatic Fixation the Unconscious 243 

what psychic impulses in his several patients have remained 
unconscious. Accordingly it would seem easy for him to cure 
the patient by imparting this knowledge to him and freeing him 
of his ignorance. At least the part played by the unconscious 
meaning of the symptoms could easily be discovered in this 
manner, and it would only be in dealing with the relationship 
of the symptoms to the experiences of the patient that the phy- 
sician would be handicapped. In the face of these experiences, 
of course, he is the ignorant one of the two, for he did not go 
through these experiences, and must wait until the patient re- 
members them and tells them to him. But in many cases this 
difficulty could be readily overcome. One can question the 
relatives of the patient concerning these experiences, and they 
will often be in a position to point out those that carry any 
traumatic significance; they may even be able to inform the 
analyst of experiences of which the patient knows nothing be- 
cause they occurred in the very early years of his life. By a 
combination of such means it would seem that the pathogenic 
ignorance of the patient could be cleared up in a short time and 
without much trouble. 

If only that were all! We have made discoveries for which 
we were at first unprepared. Knowing and knowing is not 
always the same thing ; there are various kinds of knowing that 
are psychologically by no means comparable. "II y a fagots et 
fagots," 1 as Moliere says. The knowledge of the physician is not 
the same as that of the patient and cannot bring about the same 
results. The physician can gain no results by transferring 
his knowledge to the patient in so many words. This is perhaps 
putting it incorrectly, for though the transference does not re- 
sult in dissolving the symptoms, it does set the analysis in 
motion, and calls out an energetic denial, the first sign usually 
that this has taken place. The patient has learned something 
that he did not know up to that time, the meaning of his symp- 
toms, and yet he knows it as little as before. So we discover 
there is more than one kind of ignorance. It will require a 
deepening of our psychological insight to make clear to us 
wherein the difference lies. But our assertion nevertheless re- 
mains true that the symptoms disappear with the knowledge 
of their meaning. For there is only one limiting condition; 

a Tliere are fagots and fagots. 

244 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the knowledge must be founded on an inner change in the patient 
which can be attained only through psychic labors directed 
toward a definite end. We have here been confronted by prob- 
lems which will soon lead us to the elaboration of a dynamics 
of symptom formation. 

I must stop to ask you whether this is not all too vague and 
too complicated? Do I not confuse you by so often retracting 
my words and restricting them, spinning out trains of thought 
and then rejecting them? I should be sorry if this were the 
case. However, I strongly dislike simplification at the expense 
of truth, and am not averse to having you receive the full im- 
pression of how many-sided and complicated the subject is. I 
also think that there is no harm done if I say more on every 
point than you can at the moment make use of. I know that 
every hearer and reader arranges what is offered him in his own 
thoughts, shortens it, simplifies it and extracts what he wishes 
to retain. Within a given measure it is true that the more we 
begin with the more we have left. Let me hope that, despite all 
the by-play, you have clearly grasped the essential parts of my 
remarks, those about the meaning of symptoms, about the un- 
conscious, and the relation between the two. You probably have 
also understood that our further efforts are to take two direc- 
tions: first, the clinical problem to discover how persons be- 
come sick, how they later on accomplish a neurotic adaptation 
toward life ; secondly, a problem of psychic dynamics, the evolu- 
tion of the neurotic symptoms themselves from the prerequisites 
of the neuroses. We will undoubtedly somewhere come on a 
point of contact for these two problems. 

I do not wish to go any further to-day, but since our time is not 
yet up I intend to call your attention to another characteristic 
of our two analyses, namely, the memory gaps or amnesias, 
whose full appreciation will be possible later. You have heard 
that it is possible to express the object of psychoanalytic treat- 
ment in a formula: all pathogenic unconscious experience must 
be transposed into consciousness. You will perhaps be surprised 
to learn that this formula can be replaced by another: all the 
memory gaps of the patient must be filled out, his amnesias 
must be abolished. Practically this amounts to the same thing. 
Therefore an important role in the development of his symp- 
toms must be accredited to the amnesias of the neurotic. The 

Traumatic Fixation the Unconscious 245 

analysis of our first case, however, will hardly justify this 
valuation of the amnesia. The patient has not forgotten the 
scene from which the compulsion act derives on the contrary, 
she remembers it vividly, nor is there any other forgotten factor 
which comes into play in the development of these symptoms. 
Less clear, but entirely analogous, is the situation in the case 
of our second patient, the girl with the compulsive ritual. She, 
too, has not really forgotten the behavior of her early years, 
the fact that she insisted that the door between her bedroom and 
that of her parents be kept open, and that she banished her 
mother out of her place in her parents' bed. She recalls all this 
very clearly, although hesitatingly and unwillingly. Only one 
factor stands out strikingly in our first case, that though the 
patient carries out her compulsive act innumerable times, she is 
not once reminded of its similarity with the experience after 
the bridal-night ; nor was this memory even suggested when by 
direct questions she was asked to search for its motivation. The 
same is true of the girl, for in her case not only her ritual, but 
the situation which provoked it, is repeated identically night 
after night. In neither case is there any actual amnesia, no 
lapse of memory, but an association is broken off which should 
have called out a reproduction, a revival in the memory. Such 
a disturbance is enough to bring on a compulsion neurosis. 
Hysteria, however, shows a different picture, for it is usually 
characterized by most grandiose amnesias. As a rule, in the 
analysis of each hysterical symptom, one is led back to a whole 
chain of impressions which, upon their recovery, are expressly 
designated as forgotten up to the moment. On the one hand this 
chain extends back to the earliest years of life, so that the 
hysterical amnesias may be regarded as the direct continuation 
of the infantile amnesias, which hides the beginnings of our 
psychic life from those of us who are normal. On the other 
hand, we discover with surprise that the most recent experiences 
of the patient are blurred by these losses of memory that 
especially the provocations which favored or brought on the 
illness are, if not entirely wiped out by the amnesia, at least 
partially obliterated. Without fail important details have dis- 
appeared from the general picture of such a recent memory, 
or are placed by false memories. Indeed it happens almost 
regularly that just before the completion of an analysis, certain 

246 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

memories of recent experiences suddenly come to light. They 
had been held back all this time, and had left noticeable gaps 
in the context. 

We have pointed out that such a crippling of the ability to 
recall is characteristic of hysteria. In hysteria symptomatic con- 
ditions also arise (hysterical attacks) which need leave no trace 
in the memory. If these things do not occur in compulsion- 
neuroses, you are justified in concluding that these amnesias 
exhibit psychological characteristics of the hysterical change, 
and not a general trait of the neuroses. The significance of this 
difference will be more closely limited by the following observa- 
tions. We have combined two things as the meaning of a 
symptom, its "whence," on the one hand, and its "whither" 
or "why," on the other. By these we mean to indicate the 
impressions and experiences whence the symptom arises, and the 
purpose the symptom serves. The "whence" of a symptom is 
traced back to impressions which have come from without, which 
have therefore necessarily been conscious at some time, but 
which may have sunk into the unconscious that is, have been 
forgotten. The "why" of the symptom, its tendency, is in 
every case an endopsychic process, developed from within, which 
may or may not have become conscious at first, but could just 
as readily never have entered consciousness at all and have been 
unconscious from its inception. It is, after all, not so very 
significant that, as happens in the hysterias, amnesia has covered 
over the "whence." of the symptom, the experience upon which 
it is based; for it is the "why," the tendency of the symptom, 
which establishes its dependence on the unconscious, and indeed 
no less so in the compulsion neuroses than in hysteria. In both 
cases the "why" may have been unconscious from the very 

By thus bringing into prominence the unconscious in psychic 
life, we have raised the most evil spirits of criticism against 
psychoanalysis. Do not be surprised at this, and do not believe 
that the opposition is directed only against the difficulties offered 
by the conception of the unconscious or against the relative in- 
accessibility of the experiences which represent it. I believe 
it comes from another source. Humanity, in the course of time, 
has had to endure from the hands of science two great outrages 
against its naive self-love. The first was when humanity dis- 

Traumatic Fixation the Unconscious 247 

covered that our earth, was not the center of the universe, but 
only a tiny speck in a world-system hardly conceivable in its 
magnitude. This is associated in our minds with the name 
"Copernicus," although Alexandrian science had taught much 
the same thing. The second occurred when biological research 
robbed man of his apparent superiority under special creation, 
and rebuked him with his descent from the animal kingdom, 
and his ineradicable animal nature. This re-valuation, under 
the influence of Charles Darwin, Wallace and their predecessors, 
was not accomplished without the most violent opposition of 
their contemporaries. But the third and most irritating insult 
is flung at the human mania of greatness by present-day psycho- 
logical research, which wants to prove to the "I" that it is not 
even master in its own home, but is dependent upon the most 
scanty information concerning all that goes on unconsciously 
in its psychic life. "We psychoanalysts were neither the first, 
nor the only ones to announce this admonition to look within 
ourselves. It appears that we are fated to represent it most 
insistently and to confirm it by means of empirical data which 
are of importance to every single person. This is the reason 
for the widespread revolt against our science, the omission of 
all considerations of academic urbanity, and emancipation of 
the opposition from all restraints of impartial logic. "We were 
compelled to disturb the peace of the world, in addition, in 
another manner, of which you will soon come to know. 



Resistance and Suppression 

IN order to progress in our understanding of the neuroses, 
we need new experiences and we are about to obtain two. 
Both are very remarkable and were at the time of their 
discovery, very surprising. You are, of course, prepared 
for both from our discussions of the past semester. 

In the first place: When we undertake to cure a patient, 
to free him from the symptoms of his malady, he confronts us 
with a vigorous, tenacious resistance that lasts during the whole 
time of the treatment. That is so peculiar a fact that we cannot 
expect much credence for it. The best thing is not to mention 
this fact to the patient's relatives, for they never think of it 
otherwise than as a subterfuge on our part in order to excuse 
the length or the failure of our treatment. The patient, more- 
over, produces all the phenomena of this resistance without even 
recognizing it as such; it is always a great advance to have 
brought him to the point of understanding this conception and 
reckoning with it. Just consider, this patient suffers from his 
symptoms and causes those about him to suffer with him. He 
is willing, moreover, to take upon himself so many sacrifices 
of time, money, effort and self-denial in order to be freed. And 
yet he struggles, in the very interests of his malady, against 
one who would help him. How improbable this assertion must 
sound! And yet it is so, and if we are reproached with its 
improbability, we need only answer that this fact is not without 
its analogies. Whoever goes to a dentist with an unbearable 
toothache may very well find himself thrusting away the 
dentist's arm when the man makes for his sick tooth with a 
pair of pincers. 

The resistance which the patient shows is nighly varied, ex- 
ceedingly subtle, often difficult to recognize, Protean-like in its 
manifold changes of form. It means that the doctor must be- 
come suspicious and be constantly on his guard against the 


Resistance and Suppression 249 

patient. In psychoanalytic therapy we make use, as you know, 
of that technique which is already familiar to you from the 
interpretation of dreams. "We tell the patient that without 
further reflection he should put himself into a condition of calm 
self-observation and that he must then communicate whatever 
results this introspection gives him feelings, thoughts, remi- 
niscences, in the order in which they appear to his mind. At 
the same time, we warn him expressly against yielding to any 
motive which would induce him to choose or exclude any of his 
thoughts as they arise, in whatever way the motive may be 
couched and however it may excuse him from telling us the 
thought: "that is too unpleasant," or "too indiscreet" for him 
to tell ; or "it is too unimportant," or "it does not belong here," 
"it is nonsensical." We impress upon him the fact that he 
must skim only across the surface of his consciousness and must 
drop the last vestige of a critical attitude toward that which 
he finds. "We finally inform him that the result of the treatment 
and above all its length is dependent on the conscientiousness 
with which he follows this basic rule of the analytic technique. 
We know, in fact, from the technique of interpreting dreams, 
that of all the random notions which may occur, those against 
which such doubts are raised are invariably the ones to yield 
the material which leads to the uncovering of the unconscious. 

The first reaction we call out by laying down this basic tech- 
nical rule is that the patient directs his entire resistance against 
it. The patient tries in every way to escape its requirements. 
First he will declare that he cannot think of anything, then, that 
so much comes to his mind that it is impossible to seize on any- 
thing definite. Then we discover with no slight displeasure that 
he has yielded to this or that critical objection, for he betrays 
himself by the long pauses which he allows to occur in his 
speaking. He then confesses that he really cannot bring himself 
to this, that he is ashamed to ; he prefers to let this motive get 
the upper hand over his promise. He may say that he did 
think of something but that it concerns someone else and is for 
that reason exempt. Or he says that what he just thought of is 
really too trivial, too stupid and too foolish. I surely could not 
have meant that he should take such thoughts into account. 
Thus it goes on, with untold variations, in the face of which we 

250 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

continually reiterate that "telling everything" really means 
telling everything. 

One can scarcely find a patient who does not make the attempt 
to reserve some province for himself against the intrusion of the 
analysis. One patient, whom I must reckon among the most 
highly intelligent, thus concealed an intimate love relation for 
weeks; and when he was asked to explain this infringement of 
our inviolable rule, he defended his action with the argument 
that he considered this one thing was his private affair. Natu- 
rally, analytic treatment cannot countenance such right of sanc- 
tuary. One might as well try in a city like Vienna to allow 
an exception to be made of great public squares like the Hohe 
Markt or the Stephans Platz and say that no one should be 
arrested in those places and then attempt to round up some 
particular wrong-doer. He will be found nowhere but in those 
sanctuaries. I once brought myself around to permit such an 
exception in the case of a man on whose capacity for work a 
great deal depended, and who was bound by his oath of service, 
which forbade him to tell anyone of certain things. To be sure, 
he was satisfied with the results but not I ; I resolved never to 
repeat such an attempt under these conditions. 

Compulsion neurotics are exceedingly adept at making this 
technical rule almost useless by bringing to bear all their over- 
conscientiousness and their doubts upon it. Patients suffering 
from anxiety-hysteria sometimes succeed in reducing it to 
absurdity by producing only notions so remote from the thing 
sought for that analysis is quite unprofitable. But it is not my 
intention to go into the way in which these technical difficulties 
may be met. It is enough to know that finally, by means of 
resolution and perseverance, we do succeed in wresting a certain 
amount of obedience from the patient toward this basic rule of 
the technique; the resistance then makes itself felt in other 
ways. It appears in the form of an intellectual resistance, bat- 
tles by means of arguments, and makes use of all difficulties and 
improbabilities which a normal yet uninstructed thinking is 
bound to find in the theory of analysis. Then we hear from 
one voice alone the same criticisms and objections which thunder 
about us in mighty chorus in the scientific literature. Therefore 
the critics who shout to us from outside cannot tell us anything 
new. It is a veritable tempest in a teapot. Still the patient 

Resistance and Suppression 251 

can be argued with, he is anxious to persuade us to instruct 
him, to teach him, to lead him to the literature, so that he ma;? 
continue working things out for himself. He is very ready to 
become an adherent of psychoanalysis on condition that analysis 
spare him personally. But we recognize this curiosity as a re- 
sistance, as a diversion from our special objects, and we meet 
it accordingly. In those patients who suffer from compulsion 
neuroses, we must expect the resistance to display special tactics. 
They frequently allow the analysis to take its way, so that it 
may succeed in throwing more and more light on the problems of 
the case, but we finally begin to wonder how it is that this clear- 
ing up brings with it no practical progress, no diminution of 
the symptom. Then we may discover that the resistance has 
entrenched itself in the doubts of the compulsion neurosis itself 
and in this position is able successfully to resist our efforts. The 
patient has said something like this to himself: "This is all very 
nice and interesting. And I would be glad to continue it. It 
would affect my malady considerably if it were true. But I 
don't believe that it is true and as long as I don't believe it, 
it has nothing to do with my sickness." And so it may go on 
for a long time until one finally has shaken this position itself; 
it is then that the decisive battle takes place. 

The intellectual resistances are not the worst, one can always 
get ahead of them. But the patient can also put up resistances, 
within the limits of the analysis, whose conquest belongs to the 
most difficult tasks of our technique. Instead of recalling, he 
actually goes again through the attitudes and emotions of his 
previous life which, by means of the so-called "transference," 
can be utilized as resistances to the physician and the treat- 
ment. If the patient is a man, he takes this material as a rule 
from his relations to his father, in whose place he now puts the 
physician, and in so doing constructs a resistance out of his 
struggle for independence of person and opinion; out of his 
ambition to equal or to excel his father ; out of his unwillingness 
to assume the burden of gratitude a second time in his life. 
For long times at a stretch one receives the impression that the 
patient desires to put the physician in the wrong and to let 
him feel his helplessness by triumphing over him, and that this 
desire has completely replaced his better intention of making 
an end to his sickness. Women are adepts at exploiting, for the 

252 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

purposes of the resistance, a tender, erotically tinged transfer- 
ence to the physician. "When this leaning attains a certain 
intensity, all interest for the actual situation of the treatment 
is lost, together with every sense of the responsibility which was 
assumed by undertaking it. The never-failing jealousy as well 
as the embitterment over the inevitable repudiation, however 
gently effected, all must serve to spoil the personal understand- 
ing between patient and physician and thus to throw out one of 
the most powerful propelling forces of the analysis. 

Kesistances of this sort must not be narrow-mindedly con- 
demned. They contain so much of the most important material 
of the patient 's past and reproduce it in such a convincing man- 
ner, that they become of the greatest aid to the analysis, if a 
skillful technique is able to turn them in the right direction. 
It is only remarkable that this material is at firyt always in 
the service of the resistance, for which it serves as a barrier 
against the treatment. One can also say that here are traits 
of character, adjustments of the ego which were mobilized in 
order to defeat the attempted change. "We are thus able to learn 
how these traits arose under the conditions of the neurosis, as a 
reaction to its demands, and to see features more clearly in this 
character which could otherwise not have shown up so clearly 
or at least not to this extent, and which one may therefore 
designate as latent. You must also not get the impression that 
we see an unforeseen endangering of the analytic influence in 
the appearance of these resistances. On the contrary, we know 
that these resistances must come to light ; we are dissatisfied only 
when we do not provoke them in their full strength and so make 
them plain to the patient. Indeed, we at last understand that 
overcoming these resistances is the essential achievement of 
analysis and is that portion of the work which alone assures us 
that we have accomplished something with the patient. 

You must also take into account the fact that any accidental 
occurrences which arise during the treatment will be made use 
of by the patient as a disturbance every diverting incident, 
every statement about analysis from an inimical authority in 
his circle, any chance illness or any organic affection which com- 
plicates the neurosis ; indeed, he even uses every improvement of 
his condition as a motive for abating his efforts. You will then 
have gained an approximate, though still an incomplete picture 

Resistance and Suppression 253 

of the forms and devices of the resistance which must be met and 
overcome in the course of every analysis. I have given this 
point such detailed consideration because I am about to inform 
you that our dynamic conception of the neurosis is based on 
this experience with the resistance of neurotic patients against 
the banishment of their symptoms. Breuer and I both originally 
practiced psycho-therapy by means of hypnosis. Breuer 's first 
patient was treated throughout under a condition of hypnotic 
suggestibility, and I at first followed his example. I admit that 
my work at that time progressed easily and agreeably and also 
tohk much less time. But the results were capricious and not 
permanent; therefore I finally gave up hypnotism. Then only 
did I realize that no insight into the forces which produce these 
diseases was possible as long as one used hypnotism. The con- 
dition of hypnosis could prevent the physician from realizing the 
existence of a resistance. Hypnosis drives back the resistance 
and frees a certain field for the work of analysis, but similarly 
to the doubt in the compulsion neurosis, in so doing it clogs the 
boundaries of this field till they become impenetrable. That is 
why I can say that true psychoanalysis began when the help 
of hypnotism was renounced. 

But if the establishment of the resistance thus becomes a 
matter of such importance, then surely we must give our caution 
full rein, and follow up any doubts as to whether we are not 
all *,oo ready in our assumption of their existence. Perhaps 
there really are neurotic cases in which associations appear 
for \)ther reasons, perhaps the arguments against our hypothesis 
realty deserve more consideration and we are unjustified in 
conveniently rejecting all intellectual criticisms of analysis as a 
resistance. Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, but our judgment was 
by no means readily arrived at. "We had opportunity to observe 
every critical patient from the first sign of the resistance till 
after its disappearance. In the course of the treatment, the 
resistance is moreover constantly changing in intensity. It is 
always on the increase as we approach a new theme, is strongest 
at the height of its elaboration, and dies down again when this 
theme has been abandoned. Furthermore, unless we have made 
some unusual and awkward technical error, we never have to 
deal with the full measure of resistance of which the patient 
is capable. We could therefore convince ourselves that the 

254 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

same man took up and discarded his critical attitude innumer- 
able times in the course of the analysis. Whenever we are on the 
point of bringing before his consciousness some piece of un 
conscious material which is especially painful to him, then 
he is critical in the extreme. Even though he had previously 
understood and accepted a great deal, nevertheless all record 
of these gains seems now to have been wiped out. He may, 
in his desire to resist at any cost, present a picture of veritable 
emotional feeblemindedness. If one succeeds in helping him 
to overcome this new resistance, then he regains his insight and 
his understanding. Thus his criticism is not an independent 
function to be respected as such ; it plays the role of handy-man 
to his emotional attitude and is guided by his resistance. If 
something displeases him, he can defend himself against it very 
ingeniously and appear most critical. But if something strikes 
his fancy, then he may show himself easily convinced. Perhaps 
none of us are very different, and the patient under analysis 
shows this dependence of the intellect on the emotional life so 
plainly only because, under the analysis, he is so hard pressed. 

In what way shall we now account for the observation that 
the patient so energetically resists our attempts to rid him 
of his symptoms and to make his psychic processes function in 
a normal way? "We tell ourselves that we have here come up 
against strong forces which oppose any change in the condition ; 
furthermore, that these forces must be identical with those 
which originally brought about the condition. Some process 
must have been functional in the building up of these symptoms, 
a process which we can now reconstruct by means of our experi- 
ences in solving the meaning of the symptoms. We already 
know from Breuer's observations that the existence of a symp- 
tom presupposes that some psychic process was not carried to its 
normal conclusion, so that it could not become conscious. The 
symptom is the substitute for that which did not take place. 
Now we know where the forces whose existence we suspect must 
operate. Some violent antagonism must have been aroused to 
prevent the psychic process in question from reaching conscious- 
ness, and it therefore remained unconscious. As an unconscious 
thought it had the power to create a symptom. The same strug- 
gle during the analytic treatment opposes anew the efforts to 
carry this unconscious thought over into consciousness. This 

Resistance and Suppression 255 

process we felt as a resistance. That pathogenic process which 
is made evident to us through the resistance, we will name 

We are now ready to obtain a more definite idea of this process 
of repression. It is the preliminary condition for the formation 
of symptoms; it is also a thing for which we have no parallel. 
If we take as prototype an impulse, a psychological process 
which is striving to convert itself into action, we know that it 
may succumb before a rejection, which we call ''repudiation" 
or "condemnation." In the course of this struggle, the energy 
which the impulse had at its disposal was withdrawn from it, 
it becomes powerless ; yet it may subsist in the form of a memory. 
The whole process of decision occurs with the full knowledge 
of the ego. The state of affairs is very different if we imagine 
that this same impulse has been subjected to repression. In that 
case, it would retain its energy and there would be no memory 
of it left ; in addition, the process of repression would be carried 
out without the knowledge of the ego. Through this comparison, 
however, we have come no nearer understanding the nature of 

I now go into the theoretical ideas which alone have shown 
themselves useful in making the conception of repression more 
definite. It is above all necessary that we progress from a 
purely descriptive meaning of the word "unconscious" to its 
more systematic meaning; that is, we come to a point where 
we must call the consciousness or unconsciousness of a psychic 
process only one of its attributes, an attribute which is, more- 
over, not necessarily unequivocal. If such a process remained 
unconscious, then this separation from consciousness is perhaps 
only an indication of the fate to which it has submitted and 
not this fate itself. To bring this home to us more vividly, let 
us assume that every psychological process with one exception, 
which I will go into later first exists in an unconscious state 
or phase and only goes over from this into a conscious phase, 
much as a photographic picture is first a negative and then 
becomes a picture by being printed. But not every negative 
need become a positive, and just as little is it necessary that 
every unconscious psychological process should be changed into 
a conscious one. We find it advantageous to express ourselves 
as follows : Any particular process belongs in the first place to 

256 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the psychological system of the unconscious; from this system 
it can under certain conditions go over into the system of the 
conscious. The crudest conception of these systems is the one 
which is most convenient for us, namely, a representation in 
space. We will compare the system of the unconscious to a 
large ante-chamber, in which the psychic impulses rub elbows 
With one another, as separate beings. There opens out of this 
ante-chamber another, a smaller room, a sort of parlor, which con- 
sciousness occupies. But on the threshold between the two rooms 
there stands a watchman; he passes on the individual psychic 
impulses, censors them, and will not let them into the parlor 
if they do not meet with his approval. You see at once that it 
makes little difference whether the watchman brushes a single 
impulse away from the threshold, or whether he drives it out 
again after it has already entered the parlor. It is a question 
here only of the extent of his watchfulness, and the timeliness of 
his judgment. Still working with this simile, we proceed to a 
further elaboration of our nomenclature. The impulses in the 
ante-chamber of the unconscious cannot be seen by the conscious, 
which is in the other room; therefore for the time being they 
must remain unconscious. When they have succeeded in press- 
ing forward to the threshold, and have been sent back by the 
Watchman, then they are unsuitable for consciousness and we 
call them suppressed. Those impulses, however, which the 
watchman has permitted to cross the threshold have not neces- 
sarily become conscious; for this can happen only if they have 
been successful in attracting to themselves the glance of the 
conscious. We therefore justifiably call this second room the 
system of the fore-conscious. In this way the process of becom- 
ing conscious retains its purely descriptive sense. Suppression 
then, for any individual impulse, consists in not being able to 
get past the watchman from the system of the unconscious to 
that of the fore-conscious. The watchman himself is long since 
known to us ; we have met him as the resistance which opposed 
us when we attempted to release the suppression through 
analytic treatment. 

Now I know you will say that these conceptions are as crude 
as they are fantastic, and not at all permissible in a scientific 
discussion. I know they are crude indeed, we even know that 
they are incorrect, and if we are not very much mistaken we 

Resistance and Suppression 257 

have a better substitute for them in readiness. Whether they 
will continue then to appear so fantastic to you I do not know. 
For the time being, they are useful conceptions, similar to the 
manikin Ampere who swims in the stream of the electric cur- 
rent. In so far as they are helpful in the understanding of 
our observation, they are by no means to be despised. I should 
like to assure you that these crude assumptions go far in ap- 
proximating the actual situation the two rooms, the watchman 
on the threshold between the two, and consciousness at the end 
of the second room in the role of an onlooker. I should also 
like to hear you admit that our designations unconscious, fore- 
conscious, and conscious are much less likely to arouse prejudice, 
and are easier to justify than others that have been used or 
suggested such as sub-conscious, inter-conscious, 'between-con- 
scious, etc. 

This becomes all the more important to me if you should warn 
me that this arrangement of the psychic apparatus, such as I 
have assumed in the explanation of neurotic symptoms, must 
be generally applicable and must hold for normal functioning 
as well. In that, of course, you are right. We cannot follow 
this up at present, but our interest in the psychology of the 
development of the symptom must be enormously increased if 
through the study of pathological conditions we have the pros- 
pect of finding a key to the normal psychic occurrences which 
have been so well concealed. 

You will probably recognize what it is that supports our 
assumptions concerning these two systems and their relation 
to consciousness. The watchman between the unconscious and 
the fore-conscious is none other than the censor under whose 
control we found the manifest dream to obtain its form. The 
residue of the day's experiences, which we found were the 
stimuli which set off the dream, are fore-conscious materials 
which at night, during sleep, had come under the influence of 
unconscious and suppressed wishes. Borne along by the energy 
of the wish, these stimuli were able to build the latent dream. 
(Jnder the control of the unconscious system this material was 
worked over, went through an elaboration and displacement such 
as the normal psychic life or, better said, the fore-conscious 
system, either does not know at all or tolerates only exception- 
ally. In our eyes the characteristics of each of the two systems 

258 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

were betrayed by this difference in their functioning. The de- 
pendent relation between the fore-conscious and the conscious 
was to us only an indication that it must belong to one of the 
two systems. The dream is by no means a pathological phe- 
nomenon; it may appear in every healthy person under the 
conditions of sleep. Any assumption as to the structure of the 
psychic apparatus which covers the development of both the 
dream and the neurotic symptom has also an undeniable claim 
to be taken into consideration in any theory of normal psychic 

So much, then, for suppression. It is, however, only a pre- 
requisite for the evolution of the symptom. "We know that the 
symptom serves as a substitute for a process kept back by 
suppression. Yet it is no simple matter to bridge this gap 
between the suppression and the evolution of the substitute. 
We have first to answer several questions on other aspects of 
the problem concerning the suppression and its substantiation: 
What kind of psychological stimuli are at the basis of the sup- 
pression ; by what forces is it achieved ; for what motives ? On 
these matters we have only one insight that we can go by. We 
learned in the investigation of resistance that it grows out of 
the forces of the "I," in other words from obvious and latent 
traits of character. It must be from the same traits also that 
suppression derived support ; at least they played a part in its 
development. All further knowledge is still withheld from us. 

A second observation, for which I have already prepared, will 
help us further at this point. By means of analysis we can 
assign one very general purpose to the neurotic symptom. This 
is of course nothing new to you. I have already shown it to you 
in the two cases of neuroses. But, to be sure, what is the 
significance of two cases! You have the right to demand that 
it be shown to you innumerable times. But I am unable to do 
this. Here again your own experience must step in, or your 
belief, which may in this matter rely upon the unanimous ac- 
count of all psychoanalysts. 

You will remember that in these two cases, whose symptoms 
we subjected to searching investigation, the analysis intro- 
duced us to the most intimate sexual life of these patients, 
In the first case, moreover, we could identify with unusual clear- 
ness the purpose or tendency of the symptoms under investiga- 

Resistance and Suppression 259 

tion. Perhaps in the second case it was slightly eovered by 
another factor one we will consider later. Now, the same thing 
that we saw in these two examples we would see in all other 
cases that we subjected to analysis. Each time, through analysis, 
we would be introduced to the sexual wishes and experiences of 
the patient, and every time we would have to conclude that their 
symptoms served the same purpose. This purpose shows itself 
to be the satisfaction of sexual wishes ; the symptoms serve as a 
sexual satisfaction for the patient, they are a substitute for 
such satisfactions as they miss in reality. 

Recall the compulsive act of our first patient. The woman 
longs for her intensely beloved husbe.nd, with whom she cannot 
share her life because of his shortcoming and weaknesses. She 
feels she must remain true to him, she can give his place to no 
one else. Her compulsive symptom affords her that for which 
she pines, ennobles her husband, denies and corrects his weak- 
nesses, above all, his impotence. This symptom is funda- 
mentally a wish-fulfillment, exactly as is a dream ; moreover, it 
is what a dream not always is, an erotic wish-fulfillment. In the 
case of our second patient you can see that one of the com- 
ponent purposes of her ceremonial was the prevention of the 
intercourse of her parents or the hindrance of the creation of 
a new child thereby. You have perhaps also guessed that essen- 
tially she strove to put herself in the place of her mother. Here 
again we find the removal of disturbances to sexual satisfaction 
and the fulfillment of personal sexual wishes. "We shall soon 
turn to the complications of whose existence we have given you 
several indications. 

I do not want to make reservations as to the universal appli- 
cability of these declarations later on, and therefore I wish to 
call to your attention the fact that everything that I say here 
about suppression, symptom-development and symptom-interpre- 
tation has been learned from three types of neuroses anxiety- 
hysteria, conversion-hysteria, and compulsion-neuroses and for 
the time being is relevant to these forms only. These three con- 
ditions, which we are in the habit of combining into one group 
under the name of "transference neuroses," also limit the field 
open to psychoanalytic therapy. The other neuroses have not 
been nearly so well studied by psychoanalysis, in one group, 
in fact, the impossibility of therapeutic influence has been the 

260 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

reason for the neglect. But you must not forget that psycho- 
analysis is still a very young science, that it demands much time 
and care in preparation for it, that not long ago it was still in 
the cradle, so to speak. Yet at all points we are about to pene- 
trate into the understanding of those other conditions which are 
not transference neuroses. I hope I shall still be able to speak 
to you of the developments that our assumptions and results 
have undergone by being correlated with this new material, and 
to show you that these further studies have not led to contra- 
dictions but rather to the production of still greater uniformity. 
Granted that everything, then, that has been said here, holds 
good for the three transference neuroses, allow me to add a 
new bit of information to the evaluation of its symptoms. A 
comparative investigation into the causes of the disease discloses 
a result that may be confined into the formula: in some way 
or other these patients fell ill through self-denial when reality 
withheld from them the satisfaction of their sexual wishes. 
You recognize how excellently well these two results are found 
to agree. The symptoms must be understood, then, as a substi- 
tute satisfaction for that which is missed in life. 

To be sure, there are all kinds of objections possible to the 
declaration that neurotic symptoms are substitutes for sexual 
satisfaction. I shall still go into two of them today. If you 
yourself have analytically examined a fairly large number of 
neurotics you will perhaps gravely inform me that in one class 
of cases this is not at all applicable, the symptoms appear rather 
to have the opposite purpose, to exclude sexual satisfaction, or 
discontinue it. I shall not deny the correctness of your interpre- 
tation. The psychoanalytic content has a habit of being more 
complicated than we should like to have it. Had it been so 
simple, perhaps we should have had no need for psychoanalysis 
to bring it to light. As a matter of fact, some of the traits of 
the ceremonial of our second patient may be recognized as of 
this ascetic nature, inimical to sexual satisfaction ; for example, 
the fact that she removes the clocks, which have the magic quali- 
ties of preventing nightly erections, or that she tries to prevent 
the falling and breaking of vessels, which symbolizes a protection 
of her virginity. In other cases of bed-ceremonials which I was 
able .to analyze, this negative character was far more evident ; 
the ceremonial might consist throughout of protective regula- 

Resistance and Suppression 261 

tions against sexual recollections and temptations. On the other 
hand, we have often discovered in psychoanalysis that opposites 
do not mean contradictions. We might extend our assertion and 
say the symptoms purpose either a sexual satisfaction or a 
guard against it; that in hysteria the positive wish-fulfillment 
takes precedence, while in the compulsion neuroses the negative, 
ascetic characteristics have the ascendancy. We have not yet 
been able to speak of that aspect of the mechanism of the symp- 
toms, their two-sidedness, or polarity, which enables them to 
serve this double purpose, both the sexual satisfaction and its 
opposite. The symptoms are, as we shall see, compromise re- 
sults, arising from the integration of two opposed tendencies; 
they represent not only the suppressed force but also the sup- 
pressing factor, which was originally potent in bringing about 
the negation. The result may then favor either one side or the 
other, but seldom is one of the influences entirely lacking. In 
cases of hysteria, the meeting of the two purposes in the same 
symptom is most often achieved. In compulsion-neuroses, the 
two parts often become distinct ; the symptom then has a double 
meaning, it consists of two actions, one following the other, one 
releasing the other. It will not be so easy to put aside a further 
misgiving. If you should look over a large number of symptom- 
interpretations, you would probably judge offhand that the con- 
ception of a sexual substitute-satsifaction has been stretched to 
its utmost limits in these cases. You will not hesitate to 
emphasize that these symptoms offer nothing in the way of actual 
satisfaction, that often enough they are limited to giving fresh 
life to sensations or phantasies from some sexual complex. 
Further, you will declare that the apparent sexual satisfaction 
so often shows a childish and unworthy character, perhaps ap- 
proximates an act of onanism, or is reminiscent of filthy naughti- 
ness, habits that are already forbidden and broken in childhood. 
Finally, you will express your surprise that one should designate 
as a sexual satisfaction appetites which can only be described as 
horrible or ghastly, eveij unnatural. As to these last points, we 
shall come to no agreement until we have submitted man's sexual 
life to a thorough investigation, and thus ascertained what one 
is justified in calling sexual. 



The Sexual Life of Man 

ONE might think we could take for granted what we are 
to understand by the term "sexual." Of course, the 
sexual is the indecent, which we must not talk about. 
I have been told that the pupils of a famous psychi- 
atrist once took the trouble to convince their teacher that the 
symptoms of hysteria very frequently represent sexual matters. 
With this intention they took him to the bedside of a woman 
suffering from hysteria, whose attacks were unmistakable imita- 
tions of the act of delivery. He, however, threw aside their 
suggestion with the remark, "a delivery is nothing sexual." 
Assuredly, a delivery need not under all circumstances be 

I see that you take it amiss that I jest about such serious 
matters. But this is not altogether a jest. In all seriousness, it 
is not altogether easy to define the concept "sexual." Perhaps 
the only accurate definition would be everything that is con- 
nected with the difference between the two sexes; but this you 
may find too general and too colorless. If you emphasize the 
sexual act as the central factor, you might say that everything 
is sexual which seeks to obtain sensual excitement from the body 
and especially from the sexual organs of the opposite sex, and 
which aims toward the union of the genitals and the performance 
of the sexual act. But then you are really very close to the 
comparison of sexual and indecent, and the act of delivery is 
not sexual. But if you think of the function of reproduction 
as the nucleus of sexuality you are in danger of excluding a 
number of things that do not aim at reproduction but are cer- 
tainly sexual, such as onanism or even kissing. But we are 
prepared to realize that attempts at definition always lead to 
difficulties; let us give up the attempt to achieve the unusual 
in our particular case. We may suspect that in the development 
of the concept "sexual" something occurred which resulted in 


The Sexual Life of Man 263 

a false disguise. On the whole, we are quite well oriented as 
to what people call sexual. 

The inclusion of the following factors in our concept "sexual" 
amply suffices for all practical purposes in ordinary life: the 
contrast between the sexes, the attainment of sexual excitement, 
the function of reproduction, the characteristic of an indecency 
that must be kept concealed. But this is no longer satisfactory 
to science. For through careful examinations, rendered possible 
only by the sacrifices and the unselfishness of the subjects, we 
have come in contact with groups of human beings whose sexual 
life deviates strikingly from the average. One group among 
them, the ' ' perverse, ' ' have, as it were, crossed off the difference 
between the sexes from their program. Only the same sex can 
arouse their sexual desires ; the other sex, even the sexual parts, 
no longer serve as objects for their sexual desires, and in extreme 
cases, become a subject for disgust. They have to that extent, 
of course, foregone any participation in reproduction. We call 
such persons homosexual or inverted. Often, though not always, 
they are men and women of high physical, intellectual and ethical 
development, who are affected only with this one portentous 
abnormality. Through their scientific leaders they proclaim 
themselves to be a special species of mankind, "a third sex," 
which shares equal rights with the two other sexes. Perhaps 
we shall have occasion to examine their claims critically. Of 
course they are not, as they would like to claim, the "elect" of 
humanity, but comprise just as many worthless second-rate indi- 
viduals as those who possess a different sexual organization. 

At any rate, this type among the perverse seek to achieve the 
same ends with the object of their desires as do normal people. 
But in the same group there exists a long succession of abnormal 
individuals whose sexual activities are more and more alien to 
what seems desirable to the sensible person. In their manifold 
strangeness they seem comparable only to the grotesque freaks 
that P. Breughel painted as the temptation of Saint Anthony, 
or the forgotten gods and believers that G. Flaubert pictures in 
the long procession that passes before his pious penitent. This 
ill-assorted array fairly clamors for orderly classification if it is 
not to bewilder our senses. We first divide them, on the one 
hand, into those whose sexual object has changed, as is the case 
with homosexualists, and, on the other, those whose sexual aim 


264 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

has changed. Those of the first group have dispensed with the 
mutual union of the genital organs, and have, as one of the 
partners of the act, replaced the genitals by another organ or 
part of the body; they have thus overcome both the short- 
comings of organic structure and the usual disgust involved. 
There are others of this group who still retain the genitals as 
their object, but not by virtue of their sexual function; they 
participate for anatomic reasons or rather by reason of their 
proximity. By means of these individuals we realize that the 
functions of excretion, which in the education of the child are 
hushed away as indecent, still remain capable of drawing com- 
plete sexual interest on themselves. There are still others who 
have relinquished the genitals entirely as an objective, have 
raised another part of the body to serve as the goal of their 
desire; the woman's breast, the foot, the tress of hair. There 
are also the fetishists, to whom the body part means nothing, 
who are gratified by a garment, a piece of white linen, a shoe. 
And finally there are persons who seek the whole object but 
with certain peculiar or horrible demands : even those who covet 
a defenseless corpse for instance, which they themselves must 
criminally compel to satisfy their desire. But enough of these 

Foremost in the second grouping are those perverted ones 
who have placed as the end of their sexual desire performances 
normally introductory or preparatory to it. They satisfy their 
desire by their eyes and hands. They watch or attempt to watch 
the other individual in his most intimate doings, or uncover 
those portions of their own bodies which they should conceal in 
the vague expectation of being rewarded by a similar procedure 
on the other person's part. Here also belong the enigmatic 
sadists, whose affectionate strivings know no other goal than to 
cause their object pain and agony, varying all the way from 
humiliating suggestions to the harshest physical ill-treatment. 
As if to balance the scale, we have on the other hand the 
masochists, whose sole satisfaction consists in suffering every 
variety of humiliation and torture, symbolic and real, at the 
hands of the beloved one. There are still others who combine 
and confuse a number of these abnormal conditions. Moreover, 
in both these groups there are those who seek sexual satisfaction 
5n reality, and others who are content merely to imagine such 

The Sexual Life of Man 265 

gratification, who need no actual object at all, but can supplant 
it by their own fantastic creations. 

There can be not the least doubt that the sexual activities of 
these individuals are actually found in the absurdities, caprices 
and horrors that we have examined. Not only do they them- 
selves conceive them as adequate substitutes, but we must recog- 
nize that they take the same place in their lives that normal sex 
gratification occupies in ours, and for which they bring the 
same sacrifices, often incommensurate with their ends. It is 
perfectly possible to trace along broad lines as well as in detail 
in what way these abnormalities follow the normal procedure 
and how they diverge from it. You will also find the character- 
istic of indecency which belongs to the sexual act in these 
vagaries, only that it is therein magnified to the disreputable. 

Ladies and gentlemen, what attitude are we to assume to these 
unusual varieties of sex gratification ? Nothing at all is achieved 
by the mere expression of indignation and personal disgust and 
by the assurance that we do not share these lusts. That is not 
our concern. We have here a field of observation like any other. 
Moreover, the evasion that these persons are merely rarities, curi- 
osities, is easily refuted. On the contrary, we are dealing with 
very frequent and widespread phenomena. If, however, we are 
told that we must not permit them to influence our views on 
sexual life, since they are all aberrations of the sexual instinct, 
we must meet this with a serious answer. If we fail to under- 
stand these abnormal manifestations of sexuality and are unable 
to relate them to the normal sexual life, then we cannot under- 
stand normal sexuality. It is, in short, our unavoidable task to 
account theoretically for all the potentialities of the perversions 
we have gone over and to explain their relation to the so-called 
normal sexuality. 

A penetrating insight due to Ivan Bloch and two new experi- 
mental results will help us in this task. Bloch takes exception 
to the point of view which sees in a perversion a "sign of 
degeneration"; he proves that such deviations from the aim 
of the sexual instinct, such loose relations to the object of 
sexuality, have occurred at all times, among the most primitive 
and the most highly civilized peoples, and have occasionally 
achieved toleration and general recognition. The two experi- 
mental results were obtained in the course of psychoanalytic in- 

266 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

vestigations of neurotics ; they will undoubtedly exert a decided 
influence on our conceptions of sexual perversion. 

We have stated that the neurotic symptoms are substitutions 
for sexual satisfactions, and I have given you to understand 
that the proof of this assertion by means of the analysis of 
symptoms encounters many difficulties. For this statement is 
only justifiable if, under the term "sexual satisfactions," we 
include the so-called perverse sexual ends, since with surprising 
frequency we find symptoms which can be interpreted only in 
the light of their activity. The claim of rareness made by the 
homosexualists or the inverted immediately collapses when we 
learn that in the case of no single neurotic do we fail to obtain 
evidence of homosexual tendencies, and that in a considerable 
number of symptoms we find the expression of this latent in- 
version. Those who call themselves homosexualists are the con- 
scious and manifest inverts, but their number is as nothing 
before the latent homosexualists. We are forced to regard the 
desire for an. object of one's own sex as a universal aberration 
of erotic life and to cede increasing importance to it. Of course 
the differences between manifest homosexuality and the normal 
attitude are not thus erased ; their practical importance persists, 
but their theoretic value is greatly decreased. Paranoia, a dis- 
turbance which cannot be counted among the transference- 
neuroses, must in fact be assumed as arising regularly from the 
attempt to ward off powerful homosexual tendencies. Perhaps 
you will recall that one of our patients under her compulsive 
symptoms acted the part of a man, namely that of her own 
estranged husband; the production of such symptoms, imper- 
sonating the actions of men, is very common to neurotic women. 
Though this cannot be ascribed directly to homosexuality, it is 
certainly concerned with its prerequisites. 

You are probably acquainted with the fact that the neurosis 
of hysteria may manifest its symptoms in all organic systems 
and may therefore disturb all functions. Analysis shows that 
in these symptoms there are expressed all those tendencies 
termed perverse, which seek to represent the genitals through 
other organs. These organs behave as substitute genitals; 
through the study of hysteric symptoms we have come to the 
conclusion that aside from their functional activities, the organs 
of the body have a sexual significance, and that the performancs 

The Sexual Life of Man 267 

of their functions is disturbed if the sexual factor claims too 
much attention. Countless sensations and innervations, which 
appear as symptoms of hysteria, in organs apparently not con- 
cerned with sexuality, are thus discovered as bound up with the 
fulfillment of perverse sexual desires through the transference 
of sex instincts to other organs. These symptoms bring home 
to us the extent to which the organs used in the consumption 
of food and in excretion may become the bearers of sexual 
excitement. We see repeated here the same picture which the 
perversions have openly and unmistakably lain before us; in 
hysteria, however, we must make the detour of interpreting 
symptoms, and in this case the perverse sexual tendencies must 
be ascribed not to the conscious but to the unconscious life of 
the individual. 

Among the many symptoms manifested in compulsion neurosis, 
the most important are those produced by too powerful saddistic 
tendencies, i.e., sexual tendencies with perverted aim. These 
symptoms, in accordance with the structure of compulsion neu- 
rosis, serve primarily as a rejection of these desires, or they 
express a struggle between satisfaction and rejection. In this 
struggle, the satisfaction is never excessively curtailed; it 
achieves its results in the patient's behavior in a roundabout 
way, by preference turning against his own person in self- 
inflicted torture. Other forms of neurosis, characterized by 
intensive worry, are the expression of an exaggerated sexualiza- 
tion of acts that are ordinarily only preparatory to sexual satis- 
factions; such are the desires to see, to touch, to investigate. 
Here is thus explained the great importance of the fear of 
contact and also of the compulsion to wash. An unbelievably 
large portion of compulsion acts may, in the form of disguised 
repetitions and modifications, be traced back to onanism, ad- 
mittedly the only uniform action which accompanies the most 
varied flights of the sexual imagination. 

It would cost me very little effort to interweave far more 
closely the relation between perversion and neurosis, but I be- 
lieve that what I have said is sufficient for our purposes. We 
must avoid the error of overestimating the frequency and in- 
tensity of perverse inclinations in the light of these interpreta- 
tions of symptoms. You have heard that a neurosis may 
develop from the denial of normal sexual satisfactions. Through 

268 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

this actual denial the need is forced into the abnormal paths 
of sex excitement. You will later obtain a better insight into 
the way this happens. You certainly understand that through 
such "collateral" hindrance, the perverse tendencies must be- 
come more powerful than they would have been if no actual 
obstacle had been put in the way of a normal sexual satisfaction. 
As a matter of fact, a similar influence may be recognized in 
manifest perversions. In many cases, they are provoked or 
motivated by the fact that too great difficulties stand in the way 
of normal sexual satisfactions, owing to temporary circumstances 
or to the permanent institutions of society. In other cases, to be 
sure, the perverse tendencies are entirely independent of such 
conditions; they are, as it were, the normal kind of sexual life 
for the individual in question. 

Perhaps you are momentarily under the impression that we 
have confused rather than clarified the relation between normal 
and perverse sexuality. But keep in mind this consideration. If 
it is true that a hindrance or withholding of normal sexual satis- 
faction will bring out perverse tendencies in persons who have 
not previously shown them, we must assume that these persons 
must have harbored tendencies akin to perversities or, if you 
will, perversities in latent form. This brings us to the second 
experimental conclusion of which I spoke, namely, that psycho- 
analytic investigation found it necessary to concern itself with 
the sexual life of the child, since, in the analysis of symptoms, 
reminiscences and ideas reverted to the early years of childhood. 
Whatever we revealed in this manner was corroborated point 
by point through the direct observation of children. The result 
was the recognition that all inclinations to perversion have their 
origin in childhood, that children have tendencies toward them 
all and practice them in a measure corresponding to their im- 
maturity. Perverse sexuality, in brief, is nothing more than 
magnified infantile sexuality divided into its separate tendencies. 

Now you will certainly see these perversions in another light 
and no longer ignore their relation to the sexual life of man, 
at the cost, I do not doubt, of surprises and incongruities painful 
to your emotions. At first you will undoubtedly be disposed to 
deny everything the fact that children have something which 
may be termed sexual life, the truth of our observations and the 
justification of our claim to see in the behavior of children any 

The Sexual Life of Man 269 

relation to what is condemned in later years as perversity. 
Permit me first to explain to you the cause of your reluctance 
and then to present to you the sum of our observations. It is 
biologically improbable, even absurd, to assume that children 
have no sexual life sexual excitements, desires, and some sort 
of satisfaction but that they develop it suddenly between the 
ages of twelve and fourteen. This would be just as improbable 
from the viewpoint of biology as to say that they were not born 
with genitals but developed them only in the period of puberty. 
The new factor which becomes active in them at the time is the 
function of reproduction, which avails itself for its own purposes 
of all the physical and psychic material already present. You 
commit the error of confusing sexuality with reproduction and 
thereby block the road to the understanding of sexuality, and 
of perversions and neuroses as well. This error is a prejudice. 
Oddly enough its source is the fact that you yourselves were 
children, and as children succumbed to the influence of educa- 
tion. One of the most important educational tasks which society 
must assume is the control, the restriction of the sexual instinct 
when it breaks forth as an impulse toward reproduction ; it must 
be subdued to an individual will that is identical with the 
mandates of society. In its own interests, accordingly, society 
would postpone full development until the child has reached a 
certain stage of intellectual maturity, for education practically 
ceases with the complete emergence of the sexual impulse. Other- 
wise the instinct would burst all bounds and the work of culture, 
achieved with such difficulty, would be shattered. The task of 
restraining this sexuality is never easy; it succeeds here too 
poorly and there too well. The motivating force of human 
society is fundamentally economic; since there is not sufficient 
nourishment to support its members without work on their part, 
the number of these members must be limited and their energies 
diverted from sexual activity to labor. Here, again, we have 
the eternal struggle for life that has persisted from prehistoric 
times to the present. 

Experience must have shown educators that the task of guid- 
ing the sexual will of the new generation can be solved only by 
influencing the early sexual life of the child, the period prepara- 
tory to puberty, not by awaiting the storm of puberty. With 
this intention almost all infantile sex activities are forbidden to 

270 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the child or made distasteful to him; the ideal goal has been 
to render the life of the child asexual. In the course of time 
it has really come to be considered asexual, and this point of 
view has actually been proclaimed by science. In order not to 
contradict our belief and intentions, we ignore the sexual activity 
of the child no slight thing, at that or are content to inter- 
pret it differently. The child is supposed to be pure and inno- 
ce^t, and whoever says otherwise may be condemned as a shame- 
less blasphemer of the tender and sacred feelings of humanity. 

The children are the only ones who do not join in carrying 
out these conventions, who assert their animal rights, who prove 
again and again that the road to purity is still before them. It 
is strange that those who deny the sexuality of children, do 
not therefore slacken in their educational efforts but rather pun- 
ish severely the manifestations of the very thing they maintain 
does not exist, and call it "childish naughtiness." Theoretically 
it is highly interesting to observe that the period of life which 
offers most striking evidence against the biased conception of 
asexual childhood, is the time up to five or six years of age ; after 
that everything is enveloped by a veil of amnesia, which is rent 
apart only by thorough scientific investigation; it may pre- 
viously have given way partially in certain forms of dreams. 

Now I shall present to you what is most easily recognizable 
in the sexual life of the child. At first, for the sake of con- 
venience let me explain to you the conception of the libido. 
Libido, analogous to hunger, is the force through which the in- 
stinct, here the sex instinct (as in the case of hunger it is the 
instinct to eat) expresses itself. Other conceptions, such as 
sexual excitement and satisfaction, require no elucidation. You 
will easily see that interpretation plays the greatest part in 
disclosing the sexuality of the suckling ; in fact you will probably 
cite this as an objection. These interpretations proceed from a 
foundation of analytic investigation that trace backwards from 
a given symptom. The suckling reveals the first sexual impulses 
in connection with other functions necessary for life. His chief 
interest, as you know, is directed toward the taking in of food ; 
when it has fallen asleep at its mother's breast, fully satisfied, 
it bears the expression of blissful content that will come back 
again in later life after the experience of the sexual orgasm. 
That of course would be too slight evidence to form the basis 

The Sexual Life of Man 271 

of a conclusion. But we observe that the suckling wishes to 
repeat the act of taking in food without actually demanding 
more food ; he is therefore no longer urged by hunger. We say 
he is sucking, and the fact that after this he again falls asleep 
with a blissful expression shows us that the act of sucking in 
itself has yielded him satisfaction. As you know, he speedily 
arranges matters so that he cannot fall asleep without sucking. 
Dr. Lindner, an old podiatrist in Budapest, was the first one to 
ascertain the sexual nature of this procedure. Persons attending 
to the child, who surely make no pretensions to a theoretic 
attitude, seem to judge sucking in a similar manner. They do 
not doubt that it serves a pleasurable satisfaction, term it 
naughty, and force the child to relinquish it against his will, 
and if he will not do so of his own accord, through painful 
measures. And so we learn that the suckling performs actions 
that have no object save the obtaining of a sensual gratification. 
We believe that this gratification is first experienced during the 
taking in of food, but that he speedily learns to separate it from 
this condition. The gratification can only be attributed to the 
excitation of the mouth and lips, hence we call these parts of the 
body erogenous zones and the pleasure derived from sucking, 
sexual. Probably we shall have to discuss the justification of 
this name. 

If the suckling could express himself, he would probably 
recognize the act of sucking at his mother's breast as the most 
important thing in life. He is not so far wrong, for in this one 
act he satisfies two great needs of life. With no small degree 
of surprise we learn through psychoanalysis how much of the 
physical significance of this act is retained through life. The 
sucking at the mother's breast becomes the term of departure 
for all of sexual life, the unattained ideal of later sex gratifica- 
tion, to which the imagination often reverts in times of need. 
The mother's breast is the first object for the sexual instinct; 
I can scarcely bring home to you how significant this object is 
for centering on the sexual object in later life, what profound 
influence it exerts upon the most remote domains of psychic life 
through evolution and substitution. The suckling, however, soon 
relinquishes it and fills its place by a part of his own body. 
The child sucks his thumb or his own tongue. Thereby he ren- 
ders himself independent of the consent of the outer world in 

272 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

obtaining his sensual satisfactions, and moreover increases the 
excitement by including a second zone of his body. The 
erogenous zones are not equally satisfactory ; it is therefore an 
important experience when, as Dr. Lindner puts it, the child 
while touching his own body discovers the especially excitable 
genitals, and so finds the way from sucking to onanism. 

Through the evaluation of sucking we become acquainted with 
two decisive characteristics of infantile sexuality. It arises in 
connection with the satisfaction of great organic needs and be- 
haves auto-erotically, that is to say, it seeks and finds it objects 
on its own body. What is most clearly discernible during the 
taking in of food is partially repeated during excretion. We 
conclude that the nursling experiences pleasure during the ex- 
cretion of urine and the contents of the intestine and that he 
soon strives to arrange these acts in a way to secure the greatest 
possible amount of satisfaction by the corresponding excitement 
of the erogenous membrane zones. Lou Andreas, with her deli- 
cate perceptions, has shown how at this point the outer world 
first intervenes as a hindrance, hostile to the child's desire for 
satisfaction the first vague suggestion of outer and inner con- 
flicts. He may not let his excretions pass from him at a moment 
agreeable to him, but only when other persons set the time. To 
induce him to renounce these sources of satisfaction, everything 
relating to these functions is declared indecent and must be 
concealed. Here, for the first time, he is to exchange pleasure 
for social dignity. His own relation to his excretions is origi- 
nally quite different. He experiences no disgust toward his 
faeces, values them as a part of his body from which he does not 
part lightly, for he uses them as the first ' ' present ' ' he can give 
to persons he esteems particularly. Even after education has 
succeeded in alienating him from these tendencies, he transfers 
the evaluation of the faeces to the "present" and to "money." 
On the other hand, he appears to regard his achievements in 
urination with especial pride. 

I know that you have been wanting to interrupt me for a 
long time and to cry : ' ' Enough of these monstrosities ! Excre- 
tion a source of sexual gratification that even the suckling 
exploits! Faeces a valuable substance! The anus a sort of 
genital ! We do not believe it, but we understand why children 's 
physicians and pedagogues have decidedly rejected psycho- 

The Sexual Life of Man 273 

analysis and its results." No, you have merely forgotten that 
it was my intention to present to you infantile sexuality in con- 
nection with the facts of sexual perversion. Why should you 
not know that in the case of many grown-ups, homosexuals as 
well as heterosexuals, the locus of intercourse is transferred from 
the normal to a more remote portion of the body. And that 
there are many individuals who confess to a pleasurable sensa- 
tion of no slight degree in the emptying of the bowels during 
their entire lives ? Children themselves will confirm their inter- 
est in the act of defecation and the pleasure in watching the 
defecation of another, when they are a few years older and 
capable of giving expression to their feelings. Of course, if 
these children have previously been systematically intimidated, 
they will understand all too well the wisdom of preserving 
silence on the subject. As for the other things that you do not 
wish to believe, let me refer you to the results of analysis and 
the direct observation of children, and you will realize that it is 
difficult not to see these things or to see them in a different light. 
I do not even object to making the relation between child- 
sexuality and sexual perversion quite obvious to you. It is 
really only natural ; if the child has sexual life at all, it must 
necessarily be perverse, because aside from a few hazy illusions, 
the child does not know how sexuality gives rise to reproduction. 
The common characteristic of all perversions, on the other hand, 
is that they have abandoned reproduction as their aim. We term 
sexual activity perverse when it has renounced the aim of 
reproduction and follows the pursuit of pleasure as an independ- 
ent goal. And so you realize that the turning point in the 
development of sexual life lies in its subjugation to the purpose 
of reproduction. Everything this side of the turning point, 
everything that has given up this purpose and serves the pursuit 
cf pleasure alone, must carry the term "perverse" and as such 
be regarded with contempt. 

Permit me, therefore, to continue with my brief presentation 
of infantile sexuality. What I have told you about two organic 
systems I could supplement by a discussion of all the others. 
The sexual life of the child exhausts itself in the exercise of a 
series of partial instincts which seek, independently of one 
another, to gain satisfaction from his own body or from an 
external object. Among these organs the genitals speedily pre- 

274 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

dominate. There are persons who continue the pursuit of satis- 
faction by means of their own genitals, without the aid of 
another genital or object, uninterruptedly from the onanism of 
the suckling to the onanism of necessity which arises in puberty, 
and even indefinitely beyond that. The theme of onanism alone 
would occupy us for a long period of time; it offers material 
for diverse observations. 

In spite of my inclination to shorten the theme, I must tell 
you something about the sexual curiosity of children. It is 
most characteristic for child sexuality and significant for the 
study of neurotic symptoms. The sexual curiosity of children 
begins very early, sometimes before the third year. It is not 
connected with the differences of sexes, which means nothing 
to the child, since the boy, at any rate, ascribes the same male 
genital to both sexes. When the boy first discovers the primary 
sexual structure of the female, he tries at first to deny the 
evidence of his senses, for he cannot conceive a human being 
who lacks the part of his body that is of such importance to 
him. Later he is terrified at the possibility revealed to him and 
he feels the influence of all the former threats, occasioned by 
his intensive preoccupation with his little organ. He becomes 
subject to the domination of the castration complex, the forma- 
tion of which plays an important part in the development of 
his character, provided he remains healthy; of his neurosis, if 
he becomes diseased; of his resistance, if he is treated analyti- 
cally. "We know that the little girl feels injured on account of 
her lack of a large, visible penis, envies the boy his possession, 
and primarily from this motive desires to be a man. This wish 
manifests itself subsequently in neurosis, arising from some 
failure in her role as a woman. During childhood, the clitoris 
of the girl is the equivalent of the penis ; it is especially excitable, 
the zone where auto-erotic satisfaction is achieved. In the tran- 
sition to womanhood it is most important that the sensations of 
the clitoris are completely transferred at the right time to the 
entrance of the vagina. In cases of so-called sexual anesthesia 
of women the clitoris has obstinately retained its excitability. 

The sexual interest of children generally turns first to the 
mystery of birth the same problem that is the basis of the 
questions asked by the sphinx of Thebes. This curiosity is for 
the most part aroused by the selfish fear of the arrival of a 

The Sexual Life of Man 275 

new child. The answer which the nursery has ready for the 
child, that the stork brings children, is doubted far more fre- 
quently than we imagine, even by very young children. The 
feeling that he has been cheated out of the truth by grown-ups, 
contributes greatly to the child's sense of solitude and to his 
independent development. But the child is not capable of solv- 
ing this problem unaided. His undeveloped sexual constitution 
restricts his ability to understand. At first he assumes that 
children are produced by a special substance in one's food and 
does not know that only women can bear children. Later he 
learns of this limitation and relinquishes the derivation of chil- 
dren from food a supposition retained in the fairy-tale. The 
growing child soon notices that the father plays some part in 
reproduction, but what it is he cannot guess. If, by chance, 
he is witness of a sexual act, he sees in it an attempt to sub- 
jugate, a scuffle, the saddistic miscomprehension of coitus; he 
does not however relate this act immediately to the evolution 
of the child. When he discovers traces of blood on the bedsheets 
or on the clothing of his mother, he considers them the proof of 
an injury inflicted by the father. During the latter part of 
childhood, he imagines that the sexual organ of the man plays 
an important part in the evolution of children, but can ascribe 
only the function of urination to that part of his body. 

From the very outset children unite in believing that the birth 
of the child takes place through the anus ; that the child there- 
fore appears as a ball of faeces. After anal interests have been 
proven valueless, he abandons this theory and assumes that the 
navel opens or that the region between the two breasts is the 
birthplace of the child. In this way the curious child approaches 
the knowledge of sexual facts, which, clouded by his ignorance, 
he often fails to see. In the years prior to puberty he generally 
receives an incomplete, disparaging explanation which often 
causes traumatic consequences. 

You have probably heard that the conception "sexual" is 
unduly expanded by psychoanalysis in order that it may main- 
tain the hypothesis that all neuroses are due to sexual causes 
and that the meaning of the symptoms is sexual. You are now 
in a position to judge whether or not this expansion is unjusti- 
fiable. We have expanded the conception sexual only to include 

276 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the sexual life of children and of perverse persons. That is to 
say, we have reestablished its proper boundaries. Outside of 
psychoanalysis sexuality means only a very limited thing : normal 
sexual life in the service of reproduction. 



Development of the Libido and Sexual Organizations 

1AM under the impression that I did not succeed in con- 
vincing you of the significance of perversions for our 
conception of sexuality. I should therefore like to clarify 
and add as much as I can. 

It was not only perversions that necessitated an alteration of 
our conception of sexuality, which aroused such vehement con- 
tradiction. The study of infantile sexuality did a great deal 
more along that line, and its close correspondence to the per- 
versions became decisive for us. But the origin of the expres- 
sions of infantile sexuality, unmistakable as they are in later 
years of childhood, seem to be lost in obscurity. Those who dis- 
regard the history of evolution and analytic coherence, will 
dispute the potency of the sexual factor and will infer the 
agency of generalized forces. Do not forget that as yet we 
have no generally acknowledged criterion for identifying the 
sexual nature of an occurrence, unless we assume that we can 
find it in a relation to the functions of reproduction, and this 
we must reject as too narrow. The biological criteria, such as 
the periodicities of twenty-three and twenty-eight days, sug- 
gested by "W. Fliess, are by no means established; the specific 
chemical nature which we can possibly assume for sexual occur- 
rences is still to be discovered. The sexual perversions of adults, 
on the other hand, are tangible and unambiguous. As their 
generally accepted nomenclature shows, they are undoubtedly 
sexual in character ; whether we designate them as signs of de- 
generation, or otherwise, no one has yet had the courage to place 
them outside the phenomena of sex. They alone justify the 
assertion that sexuality and reproduction are not coincident, for 
it is clear that all of them disavow the goal of reproduction. 

This brings me to an interesting parallel. While "conscious" 
and "psychic" were generally considered to be identical, we 


278 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

had to make an essay to widen our conception of the "psychic" 
to recognize as psychic something that was not conscious. Anal- 
ogously, when "sexual" and "related to reproduction" (or, in 
shorter form, "genital") has been generally considered identical, 
psychoanalysis must admit as "sexual" such things as are not 
"genital," things which have nothing to do with reproduction. 
It is only a formal analogy, but it does not lack a deeper basis. 
But if the existence of sexual perversions is such a compelling 
argument, why has it not long ago had its effect, and settled 
the question? I really am unable to say. It appears to be 
because the sexual perversions are subject to a peculiar ban that 
extends even into theory, and stands in the way of their scientific 
appreciation. It seems as if no one could forget that they are 
not only revolting, but even unnatural, dangerous; as if they 
had a seductive influence and that at bottom one had to stifle 
a secret envy of those who enjoyed them. As the count who 
passes judgment in the famous Tannhauser parody admits : 

"And in the mount of Venus, his honor slipped his mind, 
It's odd that never happens to people of our kind." 

Truthfully speaking, the perverts are rather poor devils who 
atone most bitterly for the satisfaction they attain with such 

"What makes the perverse activity unmistakably sexual, despite 
all the strangeness of its object, is that the act in perverse 
satisfaction most frequently is accompanied by a complete 
orgasm, and by an ejaculation of the genital product. Of course, 
this is only true in the case of adults; with children orgasms 
and genital excretions are hardly possible ; they are replaced by 
rudiments which, again, are not recognized as truly sexual. 

In order to complete the appreciation of sexual perversions, 
I have something to add. Condemned as they are, sharply as 
they are contrasted with the normal sexual activity, simple ob- 
servation shows that rarely is normal sex-life entirely free from 
one or another of the perverse traits. Even the kiss can be 
claimed to be perverse, for it consists in the union of two eroge- 
nous mouth zones in place of the respective genitals. But no 
one outlaws it as perverse, it is, on the contrary, admitted in 
theatrical performances as a modified suggestion of the sexual 

Development of the Libido 279 

act. This very kissing may easily become a complete perversion 
it' it results in such intensity that it is immediately followed 
by an emission and orgasm a thing that is not at all unusual. 
Further, we can learn that handling and gazing upon the object 
becomes an essential prerequisite to sexual pleasure ; that some, 
in the height of sexual excitation, pinch and bite, that the great- 
est excitation is not always called forth in lovers by the genitals, 
but rather by other parts of the body, and so forth. There ia 
no sense in considering persons with single traits of this kind 
abnormal, and counting them among the perverts. Rather, we 
recognize more and more clearly that the essential nature of 
perversion does not consist in overstepping the sexual aim, nor 
in a substitution for the genitals, not even in the variety of 
objects, but simply in the exclusiveness with which these devia- 
tions are carried out and by means of which the sexual act that 
serves reproduction is pushed aside. When the perverse activi- 
ties serve to prepare or heighten the normal sexual act, they 
are really no longer perversions. To be sure, the chasm between 
normal and perverse sexuality is practically bridged by such 
facts. The natural result is that normal sexuality takes its origin 
from something existing prior to it, since certain components 
of this material are thrown out and others are combined in order 
to make them subject to a new aim that of reproduction. 

Before we make use of our knowledge of perversions to con- 
centrate anew and with clearer perspective on the study of 
infantile sexuality, I must call your attention to an important 
difference between the two. Perverse sexuality is as a rule 
extraordinarily centralized, its whole action is directed toward 
one, usually an isolated, goal. A partial instinct has the upper 
hand. It is either the only one that can be demonstrated or it 
has subjected the others to its purposes. In this respect there 
is no difference between normal and perverse sexuality other 
than that the ruling partial instincts, and with them the sexual 
goals, are different. In the one case as well as in the other there 
is, so to say, a well organized tyranny, excepting that here one 
family and there another has appropriated all the power to 
itself. Infantile sexuality, on the other hand, is on the whole 
devoid of such centralization and organization, its individual 
component impulses are of equal power, and each independently 
goes in search of the acquisition of pleasurable excitement. Tht 

280 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

lack as well as the presence of centralization fit in well with the 
fact that both the perverse and the normal sexuality originated 
from the infantile. There are also cases of perverse sexuality 
that have much more similarity with the infantile, where, in- 
dependently of one another, numerous partial instincts have 
forced their way, insisted on their aims, or rather perpetuated 
them. In these cases it is more correct to speak of infantilism 
of sexual life than of perversions. 

Thus prepared we can consider a question which we certainly 
shall not be spared. People will say to us : ' ' Why are you so 
set on including within sexuality those manifestations of child- 
hood, out of which the sexual later develops, but which, accord- 
ing to your own admission, are of uncertain origin? Why are 
you not satisfied rather with the physiological description, and 
simply say that even in the suckling one may notice activities, 
such as sucking objects or holding back excrements, which show 
us that he strives towards an organic pleasure t In that way 
you would have avoided the estranging conception of sexual life 
in the tiniest child." I have nothing to say against organic 
pleasure ; I know that the most extreme excitement of the sexual 
union is only an organic pleasure derived from the activity of 
the genitals. But can you tell me when this organic pleasure, 
originally not differentiated, acquires the sexual character that 
it undoubtedly does possess in the later phases of development ? 
Do you know more about the "organic pleasure" than about 
sexuality? You will answer, the sexual character is acquired 
when the genitals begin to play their role ; sexual means genital. 
You will even reject the contrary evidence of the perversions by 
confronting me with the statement that in most perversions it- 
is a matter of achieving the genital orgasm, although by other 
means than a union of the genitals. You would really command 
a much better position if you did not regard as characteristic 
of the sexual that untenable relation to reproduction seen in 
the perversions, if you replaced it by activity of the genitals. 
Then we no longer differ very widely ; the genital organs merely 
replace other organs. What do you make of the numerous prac- 
tices which show you that the genitals may be represented by 
other organs in the attainment of gratification, as is the case in 
the normal kiss, or the perverse practices of "fast life," or the 
symptoms of hysteria? In these neuroses it is quite usual for 

Development of the Libido 281 

stimulations, sensations and innervations, even the process of 
erection, which is localized in the genitals, to be transferred to 
other distant parts of the body, so that you have nothing to 
which you can hold as characteristics of the sexual. You will 
have to decide to follow my example and expand the designation 
"sexual" to include the strivings of early childhood toward 
organic pleasure. 

Now, for my justification, I should like you to give me the 
time for two more considerations. As you know, we call the 
doubtful and indefinable pleasure activities of earliest childhood 
sexual because our analysis of the symptoms leads us to them 
by way of material that is undeniably sexual. We admit that 
it need not for that reason in itself be sexual. But take an 
analogous case. Suppose there were no way to observe the 
development of two dicotyledonous plants from their seeds 
the apple tree and the bean. In both cases, however, imagine it 
possible to follow their evolution from the fully developed plant 
backwards to the first seedling with two leaf -divisions. The two 
little leaves a. H e indistinguishable, in both cases they look exactly 
alike. Shall 1 conclude from this that they really are the same 
and that the specific differences between an apple tree and bean 
plant do not appear until later in the history of the plant ? Or 
is it biologically more correct to believe that this difference is 
already present in the seedling, although the two little leaves 
show no differences? We do the same thing when we term as 
sexual the pleasure derived from the activities of the suckling. 
Whether each and every organic enjoyment may be called sexual, 
or if besides the sexual there is another that does not deserve 
this name, is a matter I cannot discuss here. I know too little 
about organic pleasure and its conditions, and will not be at all 
surprised if the retrogressive character of the analysis leads us 
back finally to a generalized factor. 

One thing more. You have on the whole gained very little 
for what you are so anxious to maintain, the sexual purity of 
the child, even when you can convince me that the activities of 
the suckling had better not be called sexual. For from the third 
year on, there is no longer any doubt concerning the presence 
of a sexual life in the child. At this time the genitals already 
begin to become active; there is perhaps regularly a period of 
infantile masturbation, in other words, a gratification by means 

282 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

of the genitals. The psychic and social expressions of the sexual 
life are no longer absent ; choice of an object, affectionate prefer- 
ence for certain persons, indeed, a leaning toward one of the 
two sexes, jealousy all these have been established independent- 
ly by unprejudiced observation, prior to the advent of psycho- 
analysis, and confirmed by every careful observer. You will 
say that you had no doubt as to the early awakening of affection, 
you will take issue only with its sexual nature. Children between 
the ages of three and eight have already learned to hide these 
things, but if you look sharply you can always gather sufficient 
evidence of the "sexual" purpose of this affection. What escapes 
you will be amply supplied by investigation. The sexual goals 
of this period of life are most intimately connected with the 
contemporaneous sexual theories, of which I have given you 
some examples. The perverse nature of some of these goals is 
the result of the constitutional immaturity of the child, who 
has not yet discovered the goal of the act of copulation. 

From about the sixth or the eighth year on a pause in, and 
reversion of, sexual development is noticeable, which in the cases 
that reach the highest cultural standard deserves the name of 
a latent period. The latent period may also fail to appear and 
there need not be an interruption of sexual activity and sexual 
Interests at any period. Most of the experiences and impulses 
prior to the latent period then fall victim to the infantile 
amnesia, the forgetting we have already discussed, which cloaks 
our earliest childhood and makes us strangers to it. In every 
psychoanalysis' we are confronted with the task of leading this 
forgotten period of life back into memory; one cannot resist 
the supposition that the beginning of sexual life it contains 
furnishes the motive for this forgetting, namely, that this for- 
getting is a result of suppression. 

The sexual life of the child shows from the third year that 
it has much in common with that of the adult ; it is distinguished 
from the latter, as we already know, by the lack of stable organ- 
ization under the primacy of the genitals, by the unavoidable 
traits of perversion, and, naturally, by the far lesser intensity 
of the whole impulse. Theoretically the most interesting phases 
of the sexual development or, as we would rather say, the libido- 
development, so far as theory is concerned, lie back of this 

Development of the Libido 283 

period. This development is so rapidly gone through that per- 
haps it would never have been possible for direct observation 
to grasp its fleeting pictures. Psychoanalytic investigation of 
the neuroses has for the first time made it possible to discover 
more remote phases of the libido-development. These are, to be 
sure, nothing but constructions, but if you wish to carry on 
psychonalaysis in a practical way you will find that they are 
necessary and valuable constructions. You will soon understand 
why pathology may disclose conditions which we would have 
overlooked in the normal object. 

We can now declare what form the sexual life of the child 
takes before the primacy of the genitals is established. This 
primacy is prepared in the first infantile epoch prior to the 
latent period, and is continuously organized from puberty on. 
There is in this early period a sort of loose organization, which 
we shall call pre-genital. In the foreground of this phase, how- 
ever, the partial instincts of the genitals are not prominent, 
rather the sadistic and anal. The contrast between masculine 
and feminine plays no part as yet, its place is taken by the 
contrast between active and passive, which we may designate as 
the forerunner of sexual polarity, with which it is later fused. 
That which appears masculine to us in the activity of this 
phase, observed from the standpoint of the later genital stage, 
is the expression of an instinct to mastery, which may border 
on cruelty. Impulses with passive goals attach themselves to the 
erogenous zone of the rectal opening. Most important at this 
time, curiosity and the instinct to watch are powerful. The 
genital really takes part in the sexual life only in its role as 
excretory organ for the bladder. Objects are not lacking to 
the partial impulses of this period, but they do not necessarily 
combine into a single object. The sadistico-anal organization is 
the step antecedent to the phase of genital primacy. A more 
penetrating study furnishes proof how much of this is retained 
for the later and final form, and in what ways its partial in. 
stincts are forced into line under the new genital organization. 
Back of the sadistico-anal phase of libido-development, we get 
a view of an earlier, even more primitive phase of organization, 
in which the erogenous mouth-zone plays the chief role. You 
may surmise that the sexual activity of sucking belongs to it, 
and may wonder at the intuition of the ancient Egyptians, whose 

284 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

art characterized the child, as well as the god Horus, with the 
finger in his mouth. Abraham only recently published material 
concerning the traces which this primitive oral phase has left 
upon the sexual life of later years. 

I can surmise that these details about sexual organization have 
burdened your mind more than they have informed you. Per- 
haps I have again gone into detail too much. But be patient; 
what you have heard will become more valuable through the 
uses to which it is later put. Keep well in mind the impression 
that sexual life, as we call it, the function of the libido, does not 
make its appearance as a completed whole, nor does it develop 
in its own image, but goes through a series of successive phases 
which are not similar to each other. In fact, it is a develop- 
mental sequence, like that from the grub to the butterfly. The 
turning point of the development is the subordination of all 
sexual partial-instincts to the primacy of the genitals, and there- 
by the subjection of sexuality to the function of reproduction. 
Originally it is a diffused sexual life, one which consists of 
independent activities of single partial instincts which strive 
towards organic gratification. This anarchy is modified by 
approaches to pre-genital organization, first of all the sadistico- 
anal phase, prior to this the oral phase, which is perhaps the 
most primitive. Added to this there are the various processes, 
as yet not well known, which carry over one organization level 
to the later and more advanced phase. The significance, for 
the understanding of the neuroses, of the long evolutionary path 
of the libido which carries it over so many grades we shall 
discuss on another occasion. 

Today we shall look at another angle of the development, 
namely the relation of the partial instinct to the object. We 
shall make a hurried survey of this development in order to 
spend more time upon a relatively later product. Some of the 
components of the sex instincts have had an object from the 
very beginning and hold fast to it; such are the instinct to 
mastery (sadism), curiosity, and the impulse to watch. Other 
impulses which are more clearly attached to specific erogenous 
zones of the body have this object only in the beginning, as 
long as they adhere to the functions which are not sexual ; they 
release this object when they free themselves from these non- 
sexual functions. The first object of the oral component of the 

Development of the Libido 285 

sexual impulse is the mother's breast, which satisfies the hunger 
of the infant. By the act of sucking, the erotic component which 
is also satisfied by the sucking becoming independent, it gives up 
the foreign object and replaces it by some part of its own body. 
The oral impulse becomes auto-erotic, just as the anal and other 
erogenous impulses are from the very beginning. Further de- 
velopment, to express it most briefly, has two goals first, to 
give up auto-eroticism, and, again, to substitute for the object 
of one's own body a foreign object; second, to unify the differ- 
ent objects into a single impulse, replace them by a single object. 
To be sure, that can happen only if this single object is itself 
complete, a body similar to one's own. Nor can it be consum- 
mated without leaving behind as useless a large number of the 
auto-erotic instinctive impulses. 

The processes of finding the object are rather involved, and 
have as yet had no comprehensive exposition. For our purpose, 
let us emphasize the fact that when the process has come to a 
temporary cessation in the childhood years, before the latent 
period, the object it has found is seen to be practically identical 
with the first object derived from its relation to the object of 
the oral pleasure impulse. It is, if not the mother's breast, the 
mother herself. We call the mother the first object of love. For 
we speak of love when we emphasize the psychic side of sex- 
impulses, and disregard or for a moment wish to forget the 
fundamental physical or "sensual" demands of the instincts. 
At the time when the mother becomes the object of love, the 
psychic work of suppression which withdraws the knowledge of 
a part of his sexual goal from his consciousness has already 
begun in the child. The selection of the mother as the object 
of love involves everything we understand by the Oedipus 
complex which has come to have such great significance in 
the psychoanalytic explanation of neuroses, and which has had 
no small part in arousing opposition to psychoanalysis. 

Here is a little experience which took place during the present 
war: A brave young disciple of psychoanalysis is a doctor at 
the German front somewhere in Poland, and attracts the atten- 
tion of his colleagues by the fact that he occasionally exercises 
an unexpected influence in the case of a patient. Upon being 
questioned he admits that he works by means of psychoanalysis, 
and is finally induced to impart his knowledge to his colleagues. 

286 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

Every evening the physicians of the corps, colleagues and su- 
periors, gather in order to listen to the inmost secrets of analysis. 
For a while this goes on nicely, but after he has told his audi- 
ence of the Oedipus-complex, a superior rises and says he does 
not believe it, that it is shameful for the lecturer to tell such 
things to them, brave men who are fighting for their fatherland, 
and who are the fathers of families, and he forbade the continua- 
tion of the lectures. This was the end. 

Now you will be impatient to discover what this frightful 
Oedipus-complex consists of. The name tells you. You all 
know the Greek myth of King Oedipus, who is destined by the 
fates to kill his father, and take his mother to wife, who does 
everything to escape the oracle and then does penance by blind- 
ing himself when he discovers that he has, unknowingly, com- 
mitted these two sins. I trust many of you have yourselves 
experienced the profound effect of the tragedy in which 
Sophocles handles this material. The work of the Attic poet 
presents the manner in which the deed of Oedipus, long since 
accomplished, is finally brought to light by an artistically pro 
longed investigation, continuously fed with new evidence ; thus 
far it has a certain similarity to the process of psychoanalysis. 
In the course of the dialogue it happens that the infatuated 
mother-wife, Jocasta, opposes the continuation of the investiga- 
tion. She recalls that many men have dreamed that they have 
cohabited with their mothers, but one should lay little stress 
on dreams. "We do not lay little stress on dreams, least of all 
typical dreams such as occur to many men, and we do not doubt 
that this dream mentioned by Jocasta is intimately connected 
with the strange and frightful content of the myth. 

It is surprising that Sophocles' tragedy does not call forth 
much greater indignation and opposition on the part of the 
audience, a reaction similar to, and far more justified, than the 
reaction to our simple military physician. For it is a funda- 
mentally immoral play, it dispenses with the moral responsibility 
of men, it portrays godlike powers as instigators of guilt, and 
shows the helplessness of the moral impulses of men which 
contend against sin. One might easily suppose that the burden 
of the myth purposed accusation against the gods and Fate, 
and in the hands of the critical Euripides, always at odds with 
the gods, it would probably have become such an accusation. 

Development of the Libido 287 

But there is no trace of this in the work of the believer Sophocles. 
A pious sophistry which asserts that the highest morality is to 
bow to the will of the gods, even if they command a crime, helps 
him over the difficulty. I do not think that this moral constitutes 
the power of the drama, but so far as the effect goes, that is un- 
unportant; the listener does not react to it, but to the secret 
meaning and content of the myth. He reacts as though through 
self -analysis he had recognized in himself the Oedipus-complex, 
and had unmasked the will of the gods, as well as the oracle, 
as sublime disguises of his own unconsciousness. It is as though 
he remembered the wish to remove his father, and in his place 
to take his mother to wife, and must be horrified at his own 
desires. He also understands the voice of the poet as if it were 
telling him: "You revolt in vain against your responsibility, 
and proclaim in vain the efforts you have made to resist these 
criminal purposes. In spite of these efforts, you are guilty, for 
you have not been able to destroy the criminal purposes, they 
will persist unconsciously in you. ' ' And in that there is psycho- 
logical truth. Even if man has relegated his evil impulses to 
the unconscious, and would tell himself that he is no longer 
answerable for them, he will still be compelled to experience 
this responsibility as a feeling of guilt which he cannot trace 
to its source. 

It is not to be doubted for a moment that one may recognize 
in the Oedipus-complex one of the most important sources for 
the consciousness of guilt with which neurotics are so often 
harassed. But furthermore, in a study of the origins of religion 
and morality of mankind which I published in 1913, under the 
title of Totem and Taboo, the idea was brought home to me 
that perhaps mankind as a whole has, at the beginning of its 
history, come by its consciousness of guilt, the final source of 
religion and morality, through the Oedipus-complex. I should 
like to say more on this subject, but perhaps I had better not. 
It is difficult to turn away from this subject now that I have 
begun speaking of it, but we must return to individual psy- 

What does direct observation of the child at the time of the 
selection of its object, before the latent period, show us con 
cerning the Oedipus-complex? One may easily see that the little 
man would like to have the mother all to himself, that he finds 

288 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the presence of his father disturbing, he becomes irritated when 
the latter permits himself to show tenderness towards the mother, 
and expresses his satisfaction when the father is away or on a 
journey. Frequently he expresses his feelings directly in words, 
promises the mother he will marry her. One may think this is 
very little in comparison with the deeds of Oedipus, but it is 
actually enough, for it is essentially the same thing. The obser- 
vation is frequently clouded by the circumstance that the same 
child at the same time, on other occasions, gives evidence of 
great tenderness towards its father; it is only that such con- 
tradictory, or rather, ambivalent emotional attitudes as would 
lead to a conflict in the case of an adult readily take their place 
side by side in a child, just as later on they permanently exist 
in the unconscious. You might wish to interpose that the be- 
havior of the child springs from egoistic motives and does not 
justify the setting up of an erotic complex. The mother provides 
for all the necessities of the child, and it is therefore to the 
child's advantage that she troubles herself for no one else. 
This, too, is correct, but it will soon be clear that in this, as in 
similar situations, the egoistic interest offers only the oppor- 
tunity upon which the erotic impulse seizes. If the little one 
shows the most undisguised sexual curiosity about his mother, 
if he wants to sleep with her at night, insists upon being present 
while she is dressing, or attempts to caress her, as the mother 
can so often ascertain and laughingly relates, it is undoubtedly 
due to the erotic nature of the attachment to his mother. "We 
must not forget that the mother shows the same care for her 
little daughter without achieving the same effect, and that the 
father often vies with her in caring for the boy without being 
able to win the same importance in his eyes as the mother. In 
short, it is clear that the factor of sex-preference cannot be 
eliminated from the situation by any kind of criticism. From 
the standpoint of egoistic interest it would merely be stupid 
of the little fellow not to tolerate two persons in his services 
rather than only one. 

I have, as you will have noticed, described only the relation 
of the boy to his father and mother. As far as the little girl is 
concerned, the process is the same with the necessary modifica- 
tions. The affectionate devotion to the father, the desire to set 
aside the mother as superfluous and to take her place, a coquetry 

Development of the Libido 289 

which already works with all the arts of later womanhood, give 
such a charming picture, especially in the baby girl, that we 
are apt to forget its seriousness, and the grave consequences 
which may result from this infantile situation. Let us not fail 
to add that frequently the parents themselves exert a decisive 
influence over the child in the wakening of the Oedipus attitude, 
in that they themselves follow a sex preference when there are 
a number of children. The father in the most unmistakable 
manner shows preference for the daughter, while the mother is 
most affectionate toward the son. But even this factor cannot 
seriously undermine the spontaneous character of the childish 
Oedipus-complex. The Oedipus-complex expands and becomes a 
family-complex when other children appear. It becomes the 
motive force, revived by the sense of personal injury, which 
causes the child to receive its brothers and sisters with aversion 
and to wish to remove them without more ado. It is much more 
frequent for the children to express these feelings of hatred than 
those arising from the parent-complex. If such a wish is ful- 
filled, and death takes away the undesired increase in the family, 
after a short while we may discover through analysis what an 
important experience this death was for the child, even though 
he had not remembered it. The child forced into second place 
by the birth of a little brother or sister, and for the first time 
practically isolated from his mother, is loathe to forgive her for 
this; feelings which we would call extreme bitterness in an 
adult are aroused in him and often become the basis of a lasting 
estrangement. We have already mentioned that sexual curiosity 
with all its consequences usually grows out of these experiences 
of the child. With the growing up of these brothers and sisters 
the relation to them undergoes the most significant changes. The 
boy may take his sister as the object for his love, to replace his 
faithless mother; situations of dangerous rivalry, which are 
of vast importance for later life, arise even in the nursery among 
numerous brothers who court the affection of a younger sister. 
A little girl finds in her older brother a substitute for her father, 
who no longer acts towards her with the same affection as in 
former years, or she takes a younger sister as a substitute for 
the child that she vainly wished of her father. 

Such things, and many more of a similar character, are shown 
by the direct observation of children and the consideration of 

290 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

their vivid childish recollections, which are not influenced by 
the analysis. You will conclude, among other things, that the 
position of a child in the sequence of his brothers and sisters 
is of utmost importance for the entire course of his later life, 
a factor which should be considered in every biography. In 
the face of these explanations that are found with so little effort, 
you will hardly recall without smiling the scientific explanations 
for the prohibition of incest. What inventions! By living to- 
gether from early childhood the sexual attraction must have been 
diverted from these members of the family who are of opposite 
sex, or a biological tendency against in-breeding finds its psychic 
equivalent in an innate dread of incest! In this no account 
is taken of the fact that there would be no need of so unrelent- 
ing a prohibition by law and morality if there were any natural 
reliable guards against the temptation of incest. Just the oppo- 
site is true. The first choice of an object among human beings is 
regularly an incestuous one, in the man directed toward the 
mother and sister, and the most stringent laws are necessary to 
prevent this persisting infantile tendency from becoming active. 
Among the primitive races the prohibitions against incest are 
much more stringent than ours, and recently Th. Reik showed 
in a brilliant paper that the puberty-rites of the savages, which 
represent a rebirth, have the significance of loosing the incestu- 
ous bonds of the boy to his mother, and of establishing the 
reconciliation with the father. 

Mythology teaches that incest, apparently so abhorred by men, 
is permitted to the gods without further thought, and you may 
learn from ancient history that incestuous marriage with his 
sister was holy prescript for the person of the ruler (among 
the ancient Pharaohs and the Incas of Peru). "We have here 
a privilege denied the common herd. 

Incest with his mother is one of the sins of Oedipus, patricide 
the other. It might also be mentioned that these are the two 
great sins which the first social-religious institution of mankind, 
totemism, abhors. Let us turn from the direct observation 
of the child to analytic investigation of the adult neurotic. 
What does analysis yield to the further knowledge of the 
Oedipus-complex ? This is easily told. It shows the patient up 
in the light of the myth; it shows that each of these neurotics 
was himself an Oedipus or, what amoun s to the same thing, 

Development of the Libido 291 

became a Hamlet in the reaction to the complex. To be sure, 
the analytic representation of the Oedipus-complex enlarges 
upon and is a coarser edition of the infantile sketch. The hatred 
of the father, the death-wish with regard to him, are no longer 
timidly suggested, the affection for the mother recognizes the 
goal of possessing her for a wife. Dare we really accredit these 
horrible and extreme feelings to those tender childhood years, 
or does analysis deceive us by bringing in some new element? 
It is not difficult to discover this. Whenever an account of 
past events is given, be it written even by a historian, we must 
take into account the fact that inadvertently something has 
been interpolated from the present and from intervening times 
into the past ; so that the entire picture is falsified. In the case 
of the neurotic it is questionable whether this interpolation is 
entirely unintentional or not; we shall later come to learn its 
motives and must justify the fact of "imagining back" into 
the remote past. We also easily discover that hatred of the 
father is fortified by numerous motives which originate in later 
times and circumstances, since the sexual wishes for the mother 
are cast in forms which are necessarily foreign to the child. But 
it would be a vain endeavor to explain the whole of the Oedipus- 
complex by "imagining back," and as related to later times. 
The infantile nucleus and more or less of what has been added 
to it continues to exist and may be verified by the direct obser- 
vation of the child. 

The clinical fact which we meet with in penetrating the form 
of the Oedipus-complex as established by analysis, is of the 
greatest practical importance. We learn that at the period of 
puberty, when the sexual instinct first asserts its demands in 
full strength, the old incestuous and familiar objects are again 
taken up and seized anew by the libido. The infant 's choice of 
an object was feeble, but it nevertheless set the direction for 
the choice of an object in puberty. At that time very intense 
emotional experiences are brought into play and directed towards 
the Oedipus-complex, or utilized in the reaction to it. However, 
since their presuppositions have become unsupportable, they 
must in large part remain outside of consciousness. From this 
time on the human individual must devote himself to the great 
task of freeing himself from his parents, and only after he has 
freed himself can he cease to be a child, and become a member 

292 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

of the social community. The task confronting the son consists 
of freeing himself from his libidinous wishes towards his mother 
and utilizing them in the quest for a really foreign object for 
his love. He must also effect a reconciliation with his father, 
if he has stayed hostile to him, or if in the reaction to his 
infantile opposition he has become subject to his domination, he 
must now free himself from this pressure. These tasks are set 
for every man; it is noteworthy how seldom their solution is 
ideally achieved, i.e., how seldom the solution is psychologically 
as well as socially correct. Neurotics, however, find no solution 
whatever; the son remains during his whole life subject to the 
authority of his father, and is not able to transfer his libido 
to a foreign sexual object. Barring the difference in the specific 
relation, the same fate may befall the daughter. In this sense 
the Oedipus-complex is correctly designated as the nucleus of 
the neurosis. 

You can imagine how rapidly I am reviewing a great number 
of conditions which are associated with the Oedipus-complex, of 
practical as well as of theoretical importance. I cannot enter 
upon their variations or possible inversions. Of its less immedi- 
ate relations I only wish to indicate the influence which the 
Oedipus-complex has been found to exert on literary production. 
In a valuable book, Otto Kank has shown that the dramatists 
of all times have taken their materials principally from the 
Oedipus- and incest-complexes, with their variations and dis- 
guises. Moreover, we will not forget to mention that the two 
guilty wishes of Oedipus were recognized long before the time of 
psychoanalysis as the true representatives of the unrestrained life 
of impulses. Among the writings of the encyclopedist Diderot 
we find a famous dialogue, The Nephew of Ramau, which no 
less a person than Goethe has translated into German. In this 
you may read the remarkable sentence: "If the little savage 
were left to himself he would preserve all his imbecility, lie 
would unite the passions of a man of thirty to the unreasonable- 
ness of the child in the cradle; he would twist his father's neck 
and bed with his mother." 

There is also one other thing of which I must needs speak. 
The mother-wife of Oedipus shall not have reminded us of the 
dream in vain. Do you still remember the result of our dream 
analysis, that the wishes out of which the dream is constructed 

Development of the Libido 293 

so frequently are of a perverse, incestuous nature, or disclose 
an enmity toward near and beloved relatives the existence of 
which had never been suspected ? At the time we did not trace 
the sources of these evil impulses. Now you may see them foi 
yourselves. They represent the disposition made in early in- 
fancy of the libidinous energy, with the objects, long since given 
up in conscious life, to which it had once clung, which are now 
shown at night to be still present and in a certain sense capable 
of activity. But since all people have such perverse, incestuous 
and murderous dreams, and not the neurotics alone, we may 
conclude that even those who are normal have passed through the 
same evolutionary development, through the perversions and 
the direction of the libidio toward the objects of the Oedipus- 
complex. This, then, is the way of normal development, upon 
which the neurotics merely enlarge. They show in cruder form 
what dream analysis exposes in the healthy dreamer as well. 
Accordingly here is one of the motives which led us to deal 
with the study of the dream before we considered the neurotic 



Theories of Development and Regression Etiology 

WE have learned that the libidio goes through an ex- 
tensive development before it can enter the service 
of reproduction in a way which may be regarded 
as normal. Now I wish to present to you what 
importance this fact possesses for the causation of neuroses. 

I believe we are in harmony with the teachings of general 
pathology in assuming that this development involves two 
dangers, inhibition and regression. In other words, with the 
universal tendency of biological processes toward variation, it 
must necessarily happen that not all preparatory phases of a 
given function are equally well passed through or accomplished 
with comparable thoroughness. Certain components of a func- 
tion may be permanently held back in an early stage of develop- 
ment and the complete development is therefore retarded to a 
certain extent. 

Let us seek analogies for these processes from other fields. 
If a whole people leaves its dwellings to seek a new home, as 
frequently happened in the early periods of the history of man- 
kind, their entire number will certainly not reach the new des- 
tination. Setting aside other losses, small groups or associations 
of these wandering peoples would stop on the way, and, while 
the majority passes on, they would settle down at these way- 
stations. Or, to seek a more appropriate comparison : You know 
that in the most highly evolved mammals, the male seminal 
glands, which originally are located in the far depths of the 
abdominal cavity, begin to wander during a certain period 
of intra-uterine life until they reach a position almost immedi- 
ately under the skin of the pelvic extremity. In the case of a 
number of male individuals, one of the paired glands may as a 
result of this wandering remain in the pelvic cavity, or may be 
permanently located in the canal through which both glands must 
pass in their journey, or finally the canal itself may stay open 


Theories of Development and Regression 295 

permanently instead of growing together with the seminal glands 
after the change of position has taken place normally. When, 
as a young student, I was doing my first piece of scientific re- 
search under the direction of von Briicke, I was working on the 
dorsal nerve-roots in the spinal cord of a small fish very archaic 
in form. I discovered that the nerve ganglia of these roots 
grow out from large cells which lie in the grey matter of the 
dorsal column, a condition no longer true of other vertebrates. 
But I soon discovered that such nerve cells are found outside 
the grey matter all the way to the so-called spinal ganglion of 
the dorsal root. From this I concluded that the cells of this 
group of ganglia had traveled from the spinal cord to the roots 
of the nerves. This same result is attested by embryology. 
In this little fish, however, the entire path of the journey was 
traceable by the cells that had remained behind. Closer obser 
vation will easily reveal to you the weak points of these compari-_ 
sons. Therefore let me simply say that with reference to every 
single sexual impulse, I consider it possible for several of its ) 
components to be held back in the earlier stages of development \ 
while other components have worked themselves out to comple-J 
tion. You will realize that we think of every such impulse as 
a current continuously driving on from the very beginning of 
life, and that our resolving it into individual movements which 
follow separately one upon the other is to a certain extent 
artificial. Your impression that these concepts require further 
clarification is correct, but an attempt would lead to too great 
digression. Before we pass on, however, let us agree to call 
this arrest of a partial impulse in an early stage of development, 
a fixation of the instinct. 

Regression is the second danger of this development by stages. 
Even those components which have achieved a degree of progress 
may readily turn backward to these earlier stages. Having at- 
tained to this later and more highly developed form, the impulse 
is forced to a regression when it encounters great external diffi- 
culties in the exercise of its function, and accordingly cannot 
reach the goal which will satisfy its strivings. We can obviously 
assume that fixation and regression are not independent of each 
other. The stronger the fixations in the process of development 
prove to be, the more readily will the function evade external 
difficulties by a regression back to those fixations, and the less 

296 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

capable will the fully developed function be to withstand the 
hindrances that stand in the way of its exercise. Remember 
that if a people in its wandering has left large groups at certain 
way-stations, it is natural for those who have gone on to return 
to these stations if they are beaten or encounter a mighty foe. 
The more they have left on the way, however, the greater is 
their chance of defeat. 

For your comprehension of the neuroses it is necessary to 
keep in mind this connection between fixation and regression. 
This will give you a secure hold upon the question of the cause 
of neuroses of the etiology of neuroses which we shall soon 

For the present we have still to discuss various aspects of 
regression. With the knowledge you have gained concerning 
the development of the function of libido, you must expect two 
kinds of regression: incestuous return to the first libidinous 
objects and return of the entire sexual organization to an earlier 
stage of development. Both occur in the transference neuroses 
and play an important part in its mechanism. Especially is 
the return to the first incestuous objects of libido a feature that 
the neurotic exhibits with positively tiresome regularity. We 
could say far more about regression of libido if we took into 
consideration another group of neuroses: neurotic narcism 
But we cannot do this now. These conditions give us a clue to 
other stages of development of the function of libido, which have 
not been mentioned previously, and correspondingly show new 
kinds of regression. But I think the most important task 
before me at this point is to warn you not to confuse regression 
and suppression, and aid you to see clearly the connection be- 
tween the two processes. Suppression, as you know, is the pro- 
cess by which an act capable of becoming conscious, in other 
words, an act that belongs to the fore-conscious system, is 
rendered unconscious and accordingly is thrust back into the 
unconscious system. Similarly we speak of suppression when the 
unconscious psychic act never has been admitted into the ad- 
joining fore-conscious system but is arrested by the censor at the 
threshold. Kindly observe that the conception of suppression 
has nothing to do with sexuality. It describes a purely psycho- 
logical process, which could better be characterized by terming 
it localized. By that we mean that it is concerned with the 

Theories of Development and Regression 297 

spatial relationships within the psyche, or if we drop this crudt 
metaphor, with building up the psychological apparatus out of 
separate, psychic systems. 

Through these comparisons we observe that up to this point 
we have not used the word regression in its general, but in a 
very special sense. If you accord it the general meaning of 
return from a higher to a lower stage of development you must 
include suppression as a form of regression, for suppression may 
also be described as the reversion to an earlier and lower stage 
in the development of a psychic act. Only in regard to sup- 
pression, this tendency to revert is not necessarily involved, for 
when a psychic act is held back in the early unconscious stage 
we also term it suppression in a dynamic sense. Suppression is 
a localized and dynamic conception, regression purely descrip- 
tive. What up this point we have called regression and con- 
sidered in its relation to fixation, was only the return of libido 
to former stages of its development. The nature of this latter 
conception is entirely distinct and independent of suppression. 
We cannot call the libido regressions purely psychical processes 
and do not know what localization in the psychological apparatus 
we should assign to them. Even though the libido exerts a 
most powerful influence on psychic life, its organic significance 
is still the most conspicuous. 

Discussions of this sort, gentlemen, are bound to be somewhat 
dry. To render them more vivid and impressive, let us return 
to clinical illustrations. You know that hysteria and compulsion- 
neurosis are the two chief factors in the group of transference 
neuroses. In hysteria, libidinous return to primary, incestuous 
sexual objects is quite regular, but regression to a former stage 
of sexual organization very rare. In the mechanism of hysteria 
suppression plays the chief part. If you will permit me to sup- 
plement our previous positive knowledge of this neurosis by a 
constructive suggestion, I could describe the state of affairs 
in this manner: the union of the partial instincts under the 
domination of the genitals is accomplished, but its results en- 
counter the opposition of the fore-conscious system which, of 
course, is bound up with consciousness. Genital organization^ 
therefore, may stand for the unconscious but not for the fore- 
conscious. Through this rejection on the part of the fore-con- 
scious, a situation arises which in certain aspects is similar to 

298 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the condition existing before the genitals had attained their 
primacy. Of the two libido regressions, the regression to a 
former stage of sexual organization is by far the more con- 
spicuous. Since it is lacking in hysteria and our entire con- 
ception of the neuroses is still too much dominated by the study 
of hysteria which preceded it in point of time, the meaning of 
libido regression became clearer to us much later than that of 
repression. Let us be prepared to widen and change our attitude 
still more when we consider other narcistic neuroses besides com- 
pulsion-neurosis and hysteria in our discussion. 

In contrast to this, regression of libido in compulsion-neurosis 
turns back most conspicuously to the earlier sadistico-anal 
organization, which accordingly becomes the most significant 
factor expressed by the symptoms. Under these conditions the 
love impulse must mask itself as a sadistic impulse. The com- 
pulsion idea must therefore be reinterpreted. Isolated from 
other superimposed factors, which though they are not acci- 
dental are also indispensable, it no longer reads: "I want to 
murder you "; rather it says " I want to enjoy you in love." 
Add to this, that simultaneously regression of the object has also 
set in, so that this impulse is invariably directed toward the 
nearest and dearest persons, and you can imagine with what 
horror the patient thinks of these compulsion ideas and how alien 
they appear to his conscious perception. In the mechanism of 
these neuroses, suppression, too, assumes an important part, 
which it is not easy to explain in a superficial discussion of this 
sort. Kegression of the libido without suppression would never 
result in neurosis but would finally end in perversion. This 
makes it obvious that suppression is the process most charac- 
teristic of neurosis, and typifies it most perfectly. Perhaps I 
shall at some future time have the opportunity of presenting to 
you our knowledge of the mechanism o*f perversions and then 
you will see that here also things do not work themselves out as 
simply as we should best like to construe them. 

You will most readily reconcile yourself with these elucida- 
tions of fixation and regression, when you consider them as a 
preface to the investigation of the etiology of neuroses. Towards 
this I have only advanced a single fact: that people become 
neurotically ill when the possibility of satisfying their libido is 
removed, ill with "denial," as I expressed myself, and that 

Theories of Development and Regression 299 

their symptoms are the substitutes for the denied gratification. 
Of course, that does not mean that every denial of libidinous 
satisfaction makes every person neurotic, but merely that in all 
cases known of neurosis, the factor of denial was traceable. The 
syllogism therefore cannot be reversed. You also understand, 
1 trust, that this statement is not supposed to reveal the entire 
secret of the etiology of neurosis, but only emphasizes an im- 
portant and indispensable condition. 

Now, we do not know, in the further discussion of this state- 
ment, whether to emphasize the nature of denial or the indi- 
viduality of the person affected by it. Denial is very rarely 
complete and absolute; to cause a pathological condition, the 
specific gratification desired by the particular person in ques- 
tion must be withheld, the certain satisfaction of which he alone 
is capable. On the whole there are many ways of enduring 
abstinence from libidinous gratification without succumbing to 
a neurosis by reason thereof. Above all we know of people who 
are able to endure abstinence without doing themselves injury; 
they are not happy under the circumstances, they are filled 
with yearning, but they do not become ill. Furthermore, we 
must take into consideration that the impulses of the sex in- 
stinct are extraordinarily plastic, if I may use that term in this 
connection. One thing may take the place of the other ; one may 
assume the other's intensity; if reality refuses the one gratifi* 
cation, the satisfaction of another may offer full compensation. 
The sexual impulses are like a network of communicating chan- 
nels filled with fluids ; they are this in spite of their subjugation 
to the primacy of the genitals, though I realize it is difficult 
to unite these two ideas in one conception. The component 
impulses of sexuality as well as the total sexual desire, which 
represents their aggregate, show a marked ability to change 
their object, to exchange it, for instance, for one more easily 
attainable. This displacement and the readiness to accept sub- 
stitutes must exert powerful influences in opposition to the 
pathological effect of abstinence. Among these processes which 
resist the ill effects of abstinence, one in particular has won 
cultural significance. Sexual desire relinquishes either its goal 
of partial gratification of desire, or the goal of. desire toward 
reproduction, and adopts another aim, genetically related to the 
abandoned one. save that it is no longer sexual but must bd 

300 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

termed social. This process is called "sublimation," and in 
adopting this process we subscribe to the general standard which 
places social aims above selfish sexual desires. Sublimation is, 
as a matter of fact, only a special case of the relation of sexual 
to non-sexual desires. We shall have occasion to talk more about 
this later in another connection. 

Now your impression will be that abstinence has become an 
insignificant factor, since there are so many methods of enduring 
it. Yet this is not the case, for its pathological power is unim- 
paired. The remedies are generally not sufficient. The measure 
of unsatisfied libido which the average human being can stand is 
limited. The plasticity and freedom of movement of libido is 
by no means retained to the same extent by all individuals; 
sublimation can, moreover, never account for more than a cer- 
tain small fraction of the libido, and finally most people possess 
the capacity for sublimation only to a very slight degree. The 
most important of these limitations clearly lies in the adapta- 
bility of the libido, as it renders the gratification of the indi- 
vidual dependent upon the attainment of only a very few aims 
and objects. Kindly recall that incomplete development of the 
libido leaves extensive and possibly even numerous libido fixa- 
tions in earlier developmental phases of the processes of sexual 
organization and object-finding, and that these phases are 
usually not capable of affording a real gratification. You will 
then recognize libido fixation as the second powerful factor which 
together with abstinence constitutes the causative factors of the 
illness. "We may abbreviate schematically and say that libido 
fixation represents the internal disposing factor, abstinence the 
accidental external factor of the etiology of neurosis. 

I seize the opportunity to warn you of taking sides in a most 
unnecessary conflict. In scientific affairs it is a popular pro- 
ceeding to emphasize a part of the truth in place of the whole 
truth and to combat all the rest, which has lost none of its verity, 
in the name of that fraction. In this way various factions 
have already separated out from the movement of psychoanaly 
BIS ; one faction recognizes only the egoistic impulses and denies 
the sexual, another appreciates the influence of objective tasks 
in life, but ignores the part played by the individual past, and 
so on. Here is occasion for a similar antithesis and subject 
for dispute : are neuroses exogenous or endogenous diseases, are 

Theories of Development arid Regression 301 

they the inevitable results of a special constitution or the product 
of certain harmful (traumatic) impressions; in particular, are 
they called forth by libido fixation (and the sexual constitution 
which goes with this) or through the pressure of forbearance 1 
This dilemma seems to me no whit wiser than another I could 
present to you: is the child created through the generation of 
the father or the conception of the mother? Both factors are 
equally essential, you will answer very properly. The conditions 
which cause neuroses are very similar if not precisely the same. 
For the consideration of the causes of neuroses, we may arrange 
neurotic diseases in a series, in which two factors, sexual consti- 
tution and experience, or, if you wish, libido-fixation and self- 
denial, are represented in such a way that one increases as the 
other decreases. At one end of the series are the extreme cases, 
of which you can say with full conviction : These persons would 
have become ill because of the peculiar development of their 
libido, no matter what they might have experienced, no matter 
how gently life might have treated them. At the other end are 
cases which would call forth the reversed judgment, that the 
patients would undoubtedly have escaped illness if life had not 
thrust certain conditions upon them. But in the intermediate 
cases of the series, predisposing sexual constitution and sub- 
versive demands of life combine. Their sexual constitution 
would not have given rise to neurosis if the victims had not had 
such experiences, and their experiences would not have acted 
upon them traumatically if the conditions of the libido had been 
otherwise. Within this series I may grant a certain preponder- 
ance to the weight carried by the predisposing factors, but this 
admission, too, depends upon the boundaries within which you 
wish to delimit nervousness. 

Allow me to suggest that you call such series complementary 
series. "We shall have occasion to establish other series of this 

The tenacity with which the libido clings to certain tendencies 
and objects, the so-called adhesiveness of the libido, appears to 
us as an independent factor, individually variable, the deter- 
mining conditions of which are completely unknown to us, but 
the importance of which for the etiology of the neuroses we can 
no longer underestimate. At the same time we must not over- 
estimate the closeness of this interrelation. A similar adhesive- 

302 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ness of the libido occurs for unknown reasons in normal per- 
sons under various conditions, and is a determining factor in 
the perverse, who are in a certain sense the opposite of nervous. 
Before the period of psychoanalysis, it was known (Binet) that 
the anamnesia of the perverse is often traced back to an early 
impression an abnormality in the tendency of the instinct or 
its choice of object and it is to this that the libido of the 
individual has clung for life. Frequently it is hard to say how 
such an impression becomes capable of attracting the libido so 
intensively. I shall give you a case of this kind which I ob- 
served myself. A man, to whom the genital and all other sex 
stimuli of woman now mean nothing, who in fact can only be 
thrown into an irresistible sexual excitation by the sight of a 
shoe on a foot of a certain form, is able to recall an experience 
he had in his sixth year, which proved decisive for the fixation 
of his libido. One day he sat on a stool beside his governess, 
who was to give him an English lesson. She was an old, shriv- 
eled, unbeautiful girl with washed-out blue eyes and a pug nose, 
who on this day, because of some injury, had put a velvet slipper 
on her foot and stretched it out on a footstool ; the leg itself she 
had most decorously covered. After a diffident attempt at nor- 
mal sexual activity, undertaken during puberty, such a thin 
sinewy foot as his governess' had become the sole object of his 
sexuality; and the man was irresistibly carried away if other 
features, reminiscent of the English governess, appeared in 
conjunction with the foot. Through this fixation of the libido 
the man did not become neurotic but perverse, a foot fetishist, 
as we say. So you see that, although exaggerated and premature 
fixation of the libido is indispensable for the causation of neu- 
roses, its sphere of action exceeds the limits of neuroses im- 
measurably. This condition also, taken by itself, is no more 
decisive than abstinence. 

And so the problem of the cause of neuroses seems to become 
more complicated. Psychoanalytic investigation does, in fact, 
acquaint us with a new factor, not considered in our etiological 
series, which is recognized most easily in those cases where per- 
manent well-being is suddenly disturbed by an attack of neurosis. 
These individuals regularly show signs of contradiction between 
their wishes, or, as we are wont to say, indication of psychic 
conflict. A part of their personality represents certain wishes, 

Theories of Development and Regression 303 

another rebels against them and resists them. A neurosis cannot 
come into existence without such conflict. This may seem to be 
of small significance. You know that our psychic life is con- 
tinually agitated by conflicts for which we must find a solution. 
Certain conditions, therefore, must exist to make such a conflict 
pathological. We want to know what these conditions are, what 
psychic powers form the background for these pathological 
conflicts, what relation the conflict bears to the causative factors. 

I hope I shall be able to give you satisfactory answers to 
these questions even if I must make them schematically brief. 
Self-denial gives rise to conflict, for libido deprived of its grati- 
fication is forced to seek other means and ends. A pathogenic 
conflict arises when these other means and ends arouse the 
disfavor of one part of the personality, and a veto ensues which 
makes the new mode of gratification impossible for the time 
being. This is the point of departure for the development of 
the symptoms, a process which we shall consider later. The 
rejected libidinous desires manage to have their own way, 
through circuitous byways, but not without catering to the 
objections through the observance of certain symptom-forma- 
tion ; the symptoms are the new or substitute satisfaction which 
the condition of self-denial has made necessary. 

We can express the significance of the psychic conflict in 
another way, by saying : the outer self-denial, in order to become 
pathological, must be supplemented by an inner self-denial. 
Outer denial removes one possibility of gratification, inner denial 
would like to exclude another possibility, and it is this second 
possibility which becomes the center of the ensuing conflict. I 
prefer this form of presentation because it possesses secret con- 
tent. It implies the probability that the inner impediment found 
its origin in the prehistoric stage of human development in real 
external hindrances. 

What powers are these which interpose objections to libidinous 
desire, who are the other parties to the pathological conflict T 
They are, in the widest sense, the non-sexual impulses. We call 
them comprehensively the "ego impulses"; psychoanalysis of 
transference neuroses does not grant us ready access to their 
further investigation, but we learn to know them, in a measure, 
through the resistance they offer to analysis. The pathological 
struggle is waged between ego-impulses and sexual impulses. In 

304 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

a series of cases it appears as though conflict could exist between 
various purely sexual desires ; but that is really the same thing, 
for of the two sexual desires involved in the conflict, one is 
always considerate of the ego, while the other demands that the 
ego be denied, and so it remains a conflict between the ego and 

Again and again when psychoanalysis claimed that psycho- 
logical event was the result of sexual impulses, indignant protest 
was raised that in psychic life there were other impulses and 
interests besides the sexual, that everything could not be derived 
from sexuality, etc. Well, it is a great pleasure to share for once 
the opinion of one's opponents. Psychoanalysis never forgot 
that non-sexual impulses exist. It insisted on the decided dis- 
tinction between sexual and ego-impulses and maintained in 
the face of every objection not that neuroses arise from sex- 
uality, but that they owe their origin to the conflict between 
sexuality and the ego. Psychoanalysis can have no reasonable 
motive for denying the existence or significance of ego-impulses, 
even though it investigates the influence sexual impulses play 
in illness and in life. Only it has been destined to deal primarily 
with sexual impulses, because transference neuroses have fur- 
nished the readiest access to their investigation, and because it 
had become obligatory to study what others had neglected. 

It does not follow, either, that psychoanalysis has never occu- 
pied itself at all with the non-sexual side of personality. The 
very distinction of the ego from sexuality has shown most clearly 
that the ego-impulses also pass through a significant develop- 
ment, which is by no means entirely independent of the develop- 
ment of the libido, nor does it fail to exert a reaction upon it. 
To be sure, we know much less about the evolution of the ego 
than about libido development, for so far only the study of 
narcistic neuroses has promised to throw light on the structure 
of the ego. There is extant the notable attempt of Ferenczi to 
construct theoretically the stages of ego development, and fur- 
thermore we already possess two fixed points from which to 
proceed in our evolution of this development. "We do not dream 
of asserting that the libidinous interests of a person are from 
the outset opposed to the interests of self-preservation ; in every 
stage, rather, the ego will strive to remain in harmony with its 
sexual organization at that time, and accommodate itself thereto. 

Theories of Development and Regression 305 

The succession of the separate phases of development of libido 
probably follows a prescribed program; but we cannot deny 
that this sequence can be influenced by the ego, and that a certain 
parallelism of the phases of development of the ego and the 
libido may also be assumed. Indeed, the disturbance of this 
parallelism could become a pathological factor. One of the most 
important insights we have to gain is the nature of the attitude 
which the ego exhibits when an intensive fixation of its libido 
is left behind in one stage of its development. It may coun- 
tenance the fixation and accordingly become perverse or, what 
amounts to the same thing, become infantile. Or it may be averse 
to this attachment of the libido, the result of which is that 
wherever the libido is subject to fixation, there the ego under- 
goes suppression. 

In this way we reach the conclusion that the third factor of 
the etiology of neuroses is the tendency to conflict, upon which 
the development both of the ego and libido are dependent. Our 
insight into the causation of the neuroses has therefore been 
amplified. First, the most generalized factor, self-denial, then 
the fixation of the libido, by which it is forced into certain direc- 
tions, and thirdly, the tendency to conflict in the development 
of the ego, which has rejected libidinous impulses of this kind. 
The state of affairs is therefore not so confused and difficult to 
see through, as you may have imagined it to be in the course of 
my explanation. But of course we are to discover that we have 
not, as yet, reached the end. "We must add still a new factor 
and further analyze one we already know. 

To show you the influence of ego development in the formation 
of a conflict, and so to give an illustration of the causation of 
neuroses, I should like to cite an example which, although it is 
entirely imaginary, is not far removed from probability in any 
respect. Drawing upon the title of a farce by Nestroy, I shall 
label this example "On the ground floor and in the first story." 
The janitor lives on the ground floor, while the owner of the 
house, a rich, distinguished man, occupies the first story. Both 
have children, and we shall assume that the owner permits his 
little daughter to play unwatched with the child of the people. 
Then it may easily happen that the games of the children become 
"naughty," that is, they assume a sexual character; they play 
"father and mother," watch each other in the performance of 

306 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

intimate performances and mutually stimulate their genitals. 
The janitor's daughter, who, in spite of her five or six years of 
age, has had occasion to make observations on the sexuality of 
adults, probably played the part of the seducer. These experi- 
ences, even though they be of short duration, are sufficient to 
set in motion certain sexual impulses in both children, which 
continue in the form of onanism for several years after the 
common games have ceased. So far the consequences are similar ; 
the final result will be very different. The janitor's daughter 
will continue onanism possibly to the commencement of her 
periods, abandon it then without difficulty, not many years later 
find a lover, perhaps bear a child, choose this or that path of life, 
which may likely enough make of her a popular artist who ends 
as an aristocrat. Perhaps the outcome will be less brilliant, but 
at any rate she will work out her life, free from neurosis, un- 
harmed by her premature sexual activity. Very different is the 
effect on the other child. Even while she is very young she 
will realize vaguely that she has done wrong. In a short while, 
perhaps only after a violent struggle, she will renounce the 
gratification of onanism, yet still retain an undercurrent of 
depression in her attitude. If, during her early childhood, she 
chances to learn something about sexual intercourse, she will 
turn away in explicable disgust and seek to remain innocent. 
Probably she is at the time subjected anew to an irresistible im- 
pulse to onanism, of which she does not dare to complain. "When 
the time arrives for her to find favor in the eyes of a man, 
a neurosis will suddenly develop and cheat her out of marriage 
and the joy of life. When analysis succeeds in gaining insight 
into this neurosis, it will reveal that this well-bred, intelligent 
girl of high ideals, has completely suppressed her sexual desires, 
but that unconsciously they cling to the meager experiences she 
had with the friend of her childhood. 

The difference of these two destinies, arising from the same 
experience, is due to the fact that one ego has experienced de- 
velopment while the other has not. The janitor's daughter in 
later years looks upon sexual intercourse as the same natural 
and harmless thing it had seemed in her childhood. The owner 's 
daughter had experienced the influence of education and had 
recognized its claims. Thus stimulated, her ego had forged its 
ideals of womanly purity and lack of desire which, however, 

Theories of Development and Regression 307 

could not agree with any sexual activity; her intellectual de 
velopment had made unworthy her interest in the woman's part 
she was to play. This higher moral and intellectual evolution 
of her ego was in conflict with the claims of her sexuality. 

I should like to consider today one more point in the develop- 
ment of the ego, partly because it opens wide vistas, partly 
because it will justify the sharp, perhaps unnatural line of 
division we are wont to draw between sexual and ego impulses. 
In estimating the several developments of ego and of libido, we 
must emphasize an aspect which has not frequently been appre- 
ciated heretofore. Both the ego and the libido are fundamentally 
heritages, abbreviated repetitions of an evolution which man- 
kind has, in the course of long periods of time, traversed from 
primeval ages. The libido shows its phylogenetic origin most 
readily, I should say. Eecall, if you please, that in one class 
of animals the genital apparatus is closely connected with the 
mouth, that in another it cannot be separated from the excretory 
apparatus, and in others it is attached to organs of locomotion. 
Of all these things you will find a most fascinating description 
in the valuable book of "W. Bolsche. Animals portray, so to 
speak, all kinds of perversions which have become set as their 
permanent sexual organizations. In man this phylogenetic aspect 
is partly clouded by the circumstance that these activities, al- 
though fundamentally inherited, are achieved anew in individ- 
ual development, presumably because the same conditions still 
prevail and still continue to exert their influence on each per- 
sonality. I should say that originally they served to call forth 
an activity, where they now serve only as a stimulus for recol- 
lection. There is no doubt that in addition the course of develop- 
ment in each individual, which has been innately determined, 
may be disturbed or altered from without by recent influences. 
That power which has forced this development upon mankind, 
and which today maintains the identical pressure, is indeed 
known to us : it is the same self-denial enforced by the realities 
or, given its big and actual name, Necessity, the struggle for 
existence, the 'Avdyxn- This has been a severe teacher, but under 
him we have become potent. The neurotics are those children 
upon whom this severity has had a bad effect but there is risk 
in all education This appreciation of the struggle of life as 

308 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the moving force of development need not prejudice us against 
the importance of "innate tendencies in evolution" if their 
existence can be proved. 

It is worth noting that sexual instincts and instincts of self- 
preservation do not behave similarly when they are confronted 
with the necessities of actuality. It is easier to educate the 
instincts of self-preservation and everything that is connected 
with them ; they speedily learn to adapt themselves to necessity 
and to arrange their development in accordance with the man- 
dates of fact. That is easy to understand, for they cannot pro- 
cure the objects they require in any other way; without these 
objects the individual must perish. The sex instincts are more 
difficult to educate because at the outset they do not suffer 
from the need of an object. As they are related almost para- 
sitically to the other functions of the body and gratify them- 
selves auto-erotically by way of their own body, they are at 
first withdrawn from the educational influence of real necessity. 
In most people, they maintain themselves in some way or other 
during the entire course of life as those characteristics of ob- 
stinacy and inaccessibility to influence which are generally col- 
lectively called unreasonableness. The education of youth gen- 
erally comes to an end when the sexual demands are aroused 
to their full strength. Educators know this and act accordingly ; 
but perhaps the results of psychoanalysis will influence them to 
transfer the greatest emphasis to the education of the early years, 
of childhood, beginning with the suckling. The little human 
being is frequently a finished product in his fourth or fifth year, 
and only reveals gradually in later years what has long been 
ready within him. 

To appreciate the full significance of the aforementioned dif- 
ference between the two groups of instincts, we must digress 
considerably and introduce a consideration which we must needs 
call economic. Thereby we enter upon one of the most important 
but unfortunately one of the most obscure domains of psycho- 
analysis. "We ask ourselves whether a fundamental purpose is 
recognizable in the workings of our psychological apparatus, 
and answer immediately that this purpose is the pursuit of 
pleasurable excitement. It seems as if our entire psychological 
activity were directed toward gaining pleasurable stimulation, 

Theories of Development and Regression 309 

toward avoiding painful ones ; that it is regulated automatically 
by the principle of pleasure. Now we should like to know, above 
all, what conditions cause the creation of pleasure and pain, 
but here we fall short. We may only venture to say that pleasur- 
able excitation in some way involves lessening, lowering or ob- 
literating the amount of stimuli present in the psychic apparatus. 
This amount, on the other hand, is increased by pain. Examina- 
tion of the most intense pleasurable excitement accessible to mac, 
the pleasure which accompanies the performance of the sexual 
act, leaves small doubt on this point. Since such processes of 
pleasure are concerned with the destinies of quantities of psychic 
excitation or energy, we call considerations of this sort economic. 
It thus appears that we can describe the tasks and performances 
of the psychic apparatus in different and more generalized terms 
than by the emphasis of the pursuit of pleasure. We may say 
that the psychic apparatus serves the purpose of mastering and 
bringing to rest the mass of stimuli and the stimulating forces 
which approach it. The sexual instincts obviously show their 
aim of pleasurable excitement from the beginning to the end of 
their development; they retain this original function without 
much change. The ego instincts strive at first for the same thing. 
But through the influence of their teacher, necessity, the ego 
instincts soon learn to adduce some qualification to the principle 
of pleasure. The task of avoiding pain becomes an objective 
almost comparable to the gain of pleasure; the ego learns that 
its direct gratification is unavoidably withheld, the gain of 
pleasurable excitement postponed, that always a certain amount 
of pain must be borne and certain sources of pleasure entirely 
relinquished. This educated ego has become "reasonable." It 
is no longer controlled by the principle of pleasure, but by the 
principle of fact, which at bottom also aims at pleasure, but 
pleasure which is postponed and lessened by considerations of 

The transition from the pleasure principle to that of fact is 
the most important advance in the development of the ego. We 
already know that the sexual instincts pass through this stage 
unwillingly and late. We shall presently learn the consequence 
to man of the fact that his sexuality admits of such a loose 
relation to the external realities of his life. Yet one more 

810 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

observation belongs here. Since the ego of man has, like the 
libido, its history of evolution, you will not be surprised to hear 
that there are ' ' ego-regressions, ' ' and you will want to know what 
role this return of the ego to former phases of development plays 
in neurotic disease. 



The Development of the Symptoms 

IN the layman's eyes the symptom shows the nature of the 
disease, and cure means removal of symptoms. The physi- 
cian, however, finds it important to distinguish the symp- 
toms from the disease and recognizes that doing away 
with the symptoms is not necessarily curing the disease. Of 
course, the only tangible thing left over after the removal of 
the symptoms is the capacity to build new symptoms. Accord- 
ingly, for the time being, let us accept the layman's viewpoint 
and consider the understanding of the symptoms as equivalent 
to the understanding of the sickness. 

The symptoms, of course, we are dealing here with psychic 
(or psychogenic) symptoms, and psychic illness are acts which 
are detrimental to life as a whole, or which are at least useless ; 
frequently they are obnoxious to the individual who performs 
them and are accompanied by distaste and suffering. The prin- 
cipal injury lies in the psychic exertion which they cost, and 
in the further exertion needed to combat them. The price these 
efforts exact may, when there is an extensive development of 
the symptoms, bring about an extraordinary impoverishment of 
the personality of the patient with respect to his available psychic 
energy, and consequently cripple him in all the important tasks 
of life. Since such an outcome is dependent on the amount of 
energy so utilized, you will readily understand that "being 
sick" is essentially a practical concept. But if you take a theo- 
retical standpoint and disregard these quantitative relations, 
you can readily say that we are all sick, or rather neurotic, since 
the conditions favorable to the development of symptoms are 
demonstrable also among normal persons. 

As to the neurotic symptoms, we already know that they are 
the result of a conflict aroused by a new form of gratifying the 
libido. The two forces that have contended against each other 
meet once more in the symptom ; they become reconciled through 


312 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the compromise of a symptom development. That is why the 
symptom is capable of such resistance; it is sustained from 
both sides. We also know that one of the two partners to the 
conflict is the unsatisfied libido, frustrated by reality, which 
must now seek other means for its satisfaction. If reality re- 
mains inflexible even where the libido is prepared to take another 
object in place of the one denied it, the libido will then finally 
be compelled to resort to regression and to seek gratification in 
one of the earlier stages in its organizations already out-lived, 
or by means of one of the objects given up in the past. Along 
the path of regression the libido is enticed by fixations which 
it has left behind at these stages in its development. 

Here the development toward perversion branches off sharply 
from that of the neuroses. If the regressions do not awaken the 
resistance of the ego, then a neurosis does not follow and the 
libido arrives at some actual, even if abnormal, satisfaction. The 
ego, however, controls not alone consciousness, but also the ap- 
proaches to motor innervation, and hence the realization of 
psychic impulses. If the ego then does not approve this regres- 
sion, the conflict takes place. The libido is locked out, as it were, 
and must seek refuge in some place where it can find an outlet 
for its fund of energy, in accordance with the controlling de- 
mands for pleasurable gratification. It must withdraw from the 
ego. Such an evasion is offered by the fixations established in 
the course of its evolution and now traversed regressively, 
against which the ego had, at the time, protected itself by sup- 
pressions. The libido, streaming back, occupies these suppressed 
positions and thus withdraws from before the ego and its laws. 
At the same time, however, it throws off all the influences ac- 
quired under its tutelage. The libido could be guided so long 
as there was a possibility of its being satisfied ; under the double 
pressure of external and internal denial it becomes unruly and 
harks back to former and more happy times. Such is its charac- 
ter, fundamentally unchangeable. The ideas which the libido 
now takes over in order to hold its energy belong to the system 
of the unconscious, and are therefore subject to its peculiar 
processes, especially elaboration and displacement. Conditions 
are set up here which are entirely comparable to those of dream 
formation. Just as the latent dream, the fulfillment of a wish- 

The Development of the Symptoms 313 

phantasy, is first built up in the unconsciousness, but must then 
pass through conscious processes before, censored and approved, 
it can enter into the compromise construction of the manifest 
dream, so the ideas representing the libido in the unconscious 
must still contend against the power of the fore-conscious ego. 
The opposition that has arisen against it in the ego follows it 
down by a "counter-siege" and forces it to choose such an 
expression as will serve at the same time to express itself. Thus, 
then, the symptom comes into being as a much distorted offshoot 
from the unconscious libidinous wish-fulfillment, an artificially 
selected ambiguity with two entirely contradictory meanings. 
In this last point alone do we realize a difference between dream 
and symptom development, for the only fore-conscious purpose 
in dream formation is the maintenance of sleep, the exclusion 
from consciousness of anything which may disturb sleep; but 
it does not necessarily oppose the unconscious wish impulse with 
an insistent "No." Quite the contrary; the purpose of the 
dream may be more tolerant, because the situation of the sleeper 
is a less dangerous one. The exit to reality is closed only 
through the condition of sleep. 

You see, this evasion which the libido finds under the condi- 
tions of the conflict is possible only by virtue of the existing 
fixations,, When these fixations are taken in hand by the re- 
gression, the suppression is side-tracked and the libido, which 
must maintain itself under the conditions of the compromise, is 
led off or gratified. By means of such a detour by way of the 
unconscious and the old fixations, the libido has at last succeeded 
in breaking its way through to some sort of gratification, how- 
ever extraordinarily limited this may seem and however un- 
recognizable any longer as a genuine satisfaction. Now allow me 
to add two further remarks concerning this final result. In the 
first place, I should like you to take note of the intimate connec- 
tion between the libido and the unconscious on the one hand, and 
on the other of the ego, consciousness, and reality. The connec- 
tion that is evidenced here, however, does not indicate that origi- 
nally they in any way belong together. I should like you to 
bear continually in mind that everything I have said here, and 
all that will follow, pertains only to the symptom development 
of hysterical neurosis. 

Where, now, can the libido find the fixations which it must 
have in order to force its way through the suppressions ? In the 

314 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

activities and experiences of infantile sexuality, in its abandoned 
component-impulses, its childish objects which have been given 
up. The libido again returns to them. The significance of this 
period of childhood is a double one; on the one hand, the in- 
stinctive tendencies which were congenital in the child first 
showed themselves at this time; secondly, at the same time, 
environmental influences and chance experiences were first 
awakening his other instincts. I believe our right to establish 
this bipartite division cannot be questioned. The assertion that 
the innate disposition plays a part is hardly open to criticism, 
but analytic experience actually makes it necessary for us to 
assume that purely accidental experiences of childhood are 
capable of leaving fixations of the libido. I do not see any 
theoretical difficulties here. Congenital tendencies undoubtedly 
represent the after-effects of the experiences of an earlier an- 
cestry; they must also have once been acquired; without such 
acquired characters there could be no heredity. And is it con- 
ceivable that the inheritance of such acquired characters comes 
to a standstill in the very generation that we have under ob- 
servation? The significance of infantile experience, however, 
should not, as is so often done, be completely ignored as com- 
pared with ancestral experiences or those of our adult years ; on 
the contrary, they should meet with an especial appreciation. 
They have such important results because they occur in the 
period of uncompleted development, and because of this very 
fact are in a position to cause a traumatic effect. The researches 
on the mechanics of development by Koux and others have shown 
us that a needle prick into an embryonic cell mass which is 
undergoing division results in most serious developmental dis- 
turbances. The same injury to a larva or a completed animal can 
be borne without injury. 

The libido fixation of adults, which we have referred to as 
representative of the constitutional factor in the etiological com- 
parison of the neuroses, can be thought of, so far as we are con- 
cerned, as divisible into two separate factors, the inherited 
disposition and the tendency acquired in early childhood. "We 
know that a schematic representation is most acceptable to the 
student. Let us combine these relations as follows : 

The Development of the Symptoms 315 

Disposition as accidental 

Cause of the determined by experiences 

neurosis libido fixation + (traumatic 


Sexual constitution Infantile ex- 

(pre-historic experience) perience 

The hereditary sexual constitution provides us with manifold 
tendencies, varying with the special emphasis given one or the 
other component of the instinct, either individually or in com- 
bination. With the factor of infantile experience, there is again 
built up a complementary series within the sexual constitution 
which is perfectly comparable with our first series, namely, the 
gradations between disposition and the chance experiences of the 
adult. Here again we find the same extreme cases and similar 
relations in the matter of substitution. At this point the ques- 
tion becomes pertinent as to whether the most striking regres- 
sions of the libido, those which hark back to very early stages 
in sexual organization, are not essentially conditioned by the 
hereditary constitutional factor. The answer to this question, 
however, may best be put off until we are in a position to con- 
sider a wider range in the forms of neurotic disease. 

Let us devote a little time to the consideration of the fact 
that analytic investigation of neurotics shows the libido to be 
bound up with the infantile sexual experiences of these persons. 
In this light they seem of enormous importance for both the 
life and health of mankind. With respect to therapeutic work 
their importance remains undiminished. But when we do not 
take this into account we can herein readily recognize the danger 
of being misled by the situation as it exists in neurotics into 
adopting a mistaken and one-sided orientation toward life. In 
figuring the importance of the infantile experiences we must also 
subtract the influences arising from the fact that the libido has 
returned to them by regression, after having been forced out of 
its later positions. Thus we approach the opposite conclusion, 
that experiences of the libido had no importance whatever in 
their own time, but rather acquired it at the time of regression. 
You will remember that we were led to a similar alternative in 
the discussion of the Oedipus-complex. 

316 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

A decision on this matter will hardly be difficult for us. The 
statement is undoubtedly correct that the hold which the in- 
fantile experiences have on the libido with the pathogenic 
influences this involves is greatly augmented by the regression ; 
still, to allow them to become definitive would nevertheless be 
misleading. Other considerations must be taken into account as 
well. In the first place, observation shows, in a way that leaves 
no room for doubt, that infantile experiences have their par- 
ticular significance which is evidenced already during child- 
hood. There are, furthermore, neuroses in children in which 
the factor of displacement in time is necessarily greatly mini- 
mized or is entirely lacking, since the illness follows as an imme- 
diate consequence of the traumatic experience. The study of 
these infantile neuroses keeps- us from many dangerous mis- 
understandings of adult neuroses, just as the dreams of children 
similarly serve as the key to the understanding of the dreams 
of adults. As a matter of fact, the neuroses of children are 
very frequent, far more frequent than is generally believed. 
They are often overlooked, dismissed as signs of badness or 
naughtiness, and often suppressed by the authority of the 
nursery; in retrospect, however, they may be easily recognized 
later. They occur most frequently in the form of anxiety hys- 
teria. What this implies we shall learn upon another occasion. 
When a neurosis breaks out in later life, analysis regularly 
shows that it is a direct continuation of that infantile malady 
which had perhaps developed only obscurely and incipiently. 
However, there are cases, as already stated, in which this childish 
nervousness continues, without any interruption, as a lifelong 
affliction. We have been able to analyze a very few examples 
of such neuroses during childhood, while they were actually 
going on ; much more often we had to be satisfied with obtaining 
our insight into the childhood neurosis subsequently, when the 
patient is already well along in life, under conditions in which 
we are forced to work with certain corrections and under definite 

Secondly, we must admit that the universal regression of the 
libido to the period of childhood would be inexplicable if there 
were nothing there which could exert an attraction for it. The 
fixation which we assume to exist towards specific developmental 
phases, conveys a meaning only if we think of it as stabilizing 

The Development of the Symptoms 317 

a definite amount of libidinous energy. Finally, I am able to 
remind you that here there exists a complementary relationship 
between the intensity and the pathogenic significance of the in- 
fantile experiences to the later ones which is similar to that 
studied in previous series. There are cases in which the entire 
causal emphasis falls upon the sexual experiences of childhood, 
in which these impressions take on an effect which is unmis- 
takably traumatic and in which no other basis exists for them 
beyond what the average sexual constitution and its immaturity 
can offer. Side by side with these there are others in which the 
whole stress is brought to bear by the later conflicts, and the 
emphasis the analysis places on childhood impressions appears 
entirely as the work of regression. There are also extremes of 
"retarded development" and "regression," and between them 
every combination in the interaction of the two factors. 

These relations have a certain interest for that pedagogy 
which assumes as its object the prevention of neuroses by an 
early interference in the sexual development of the child. So 
long as we keep our attention fixed essentially on the infantile 
sexual experiences, we readily come to believe we have done 
everything for the prophylaxis of nervous afflictions when we 
have seen to it that this development is retarded, and that the 
child is spared this type of experience. Yet we already know 
that the conditions for the causation of neuroses are more com- 
plicated and cannot in general be influenced through one single 
factor. The strict protection in childhood loses its value be- 
cause it is powerless against the constitutional factor; further- 
more, it is more difficult to carry out than the educators imagine, 
and it brings with it two new dangers that cannot be lightly 
dismissed. It accomplishes too much, for it favors a degree 
of sexual suppression which is harmful for later years, and it 
Bends the child into life without the power to resist the violent 
onset of sexual demands that must be expected during puberty. 
The profit, therefore, which childhood prophylaxis can yield 
is most dubious; it seems, indeed, that better success in the 
prevention of neuroses can be gained by attacking the problem 
through a changed attitude toward facts. 

Let us return to the consideration of the symptoms. They 
serve as substitutes for the gratification which has been forborne, 
by a regression of the libido to earlier days, with a return to 

318 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

former development phases in their choice of object and in their 
organization. "We learned some time ago that the neurotic is 
held fast somewhere in his past ; we now know that it is a period 
of his past in which his libido did not miss the satisfaction which 
made him happy. He looks for such a time in his life until he has 
found it, even though he must hark back to his suckling days as 
he retains them in his memory or as he reconstructs them 
in the light of later influences. The symptom in some 
way again yields the old infantile form of satisfaction, distorted 
by the censoring work of the conflict. As a rule it is converted 
into a sensation of suffering and fused with other causal elements 
of the disease. The form of gratification which the symptom 
yields has much about it that alienates one's sympathy. In this 
we omit to take into account, however, the fact that the patients 
do not recognize the gratification as such and experience the 
apparent satisfaction rather as suffering, and complain of it. 
This transformation is part of the psychic conflict under the 
pressure of which the symptom must be developed. What was 
at one time a satisfaction for the individual must now awaken 
his antipathy or disgust. We know a simple but instructive 
example for such a change of feeling. The same child that 
sucked the milk with such voracity from its mother's breast is 
apt to show a strong antipathy for milk a few years later, which 
is often difficult to overcome. This antipathy increases to the 
point of disgust when the milk, or any substituted drink, has a 
little skin over it. It is rather hard to throw out the suggestion 
that this skin calls up the memory of the mother's breast, which 
was once so intensely coveted. In the meantime, to be sure, 
the traumatic experience of weaning has intervened. 

There is something else that makes the symptoms appear re- 
markable and inexplicable as a means of libidinous satisfaction. 
They in no way recall anything from which we normally are 
in the habit of expecting satisfaction. They usually require 
no object, and thereby give up all connection with external 
reality. We understand this to be a result of turning away 
from fact and of returning to the predominance of pleasurable 
gratification. But it is also a return to a sort of amplified auto- 
eroticism, such as was yielded the sex impulse in its earliest 
satisfactions. In the place of a modification in the outside 
world, we have a physical change, in other words, an internal 

The Development of the Symptoms 319 

reaction in place of an external one, an adjustment instead of 
an activity. Viewed from a phylogenetic standpoint, this ex- 
presses a very significant regression. We will grasp this better 
when we consider it in connection with a new factor which we 
are still to discover from the analytic investigation of symptom 
development. Further, we recall that in symptom formation 
the same processes of the unconscious have been at work as in 
dream formation elaboration and displacement. Similarly to 
the dream, the symptom represents a fulfillment, a satisfaction 
after the manner of the infantile ; by the utmost elaboration this 
satisfaction can be compressed into a single sensation or inner- 
vation, or by extreme displacement it may be restricted to a tiny 
element of the entire libidinous complex. It is no wonder that 
we often have difficulties in recognizing in the symptom the 
libidinous satisfaction which we anticipate and always find 

I have indicated that we must still become familiar with a 
new factor. It is something really surprising and confusing. 
You know that by analysis of the symptoms we arrive at a 
knowledge of the infantile experiences upon which the libido is 
fixated and out of which the symptoms are formed. "Well, the 
surprising thing is this, that these infantile scenes are not always 
true. Indeed, in the majority of cases they are untrue, and in 
some instances they are directly contrary to historical truth. 
You see that this discovery, as no other, serves either to dis- 
credit the analysis which has led to such a result, or to discredit 
the patients upon whose testimony the analysis, as well as the 
whole understanding of neuroses, is built up. In addition there 
is something else utterly confusing about it. If the infantile 
experiences, revealed by analysis, were in every case real, we 
should have the feeling of walking on sure ground ; if they were 
regularly falsified, disclosed themselves as inventions or phan- 
tasies of the patients, we should have to leave this uncertain 
ground and find a surer footing elsewhere. But it is neither the 
one nor the other, for when we look into the matter we find 
that the childhood experiences which are recalled or recon- 
structed in the course of the analysis may in some instances 
be false, in others undeniably true, and in the majority of cases 
a mixture of truth and fiction. The symptoms then are either 
the representation of actual experiences to which we may ascribe 

320 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

an influence in the fixation of the libido, or the representation 
of phantasies of the patient which, of course, can be of no etiologi- 
cal significance. It is hard to find one's way here. The first 
foothold is given perhaps by an analogous discovery, namely, 
that the same scattered childhood memories that individuals 
always have had and have been conscious of prior to an analysis 
may be falsified as well, or at least may contain a generous 
mixture of true and false. Evidence of error very seldom offers 
difficulties, and we at least gain the satisfaction of knowing 
that the blame for this unexpected disappointment is not to be 
laid at the door of analysis, but in some way upon the patients. 

After reflecting a bit we can easily understand what is so 
confusing in this matter. It is the slight regard for reality, 
the neglect to keep fact distinct from phantasy. We are apt to 
feel insulted that the patient has wasted our time with invented 
tales. There is an enormous gap in our thinking between reality 
and invention and we accord an entirely different valuation to 
reality. The patient, too, takes this same viewpoint in his 
normal thinking. When he offers the material which, by way of 
the symptom, leads back to the wish situations which are 
modeled upon the childhood experiences, we are at first, to be 
sure, in doubt whether we are dealing with reality or with 
phantasy. Later certain traits determine this decision; we are 
confronted with the task of acquainting the patient with them. 
This can never be accomplished without difficulty. If at the 
outset we tell him that he is going to reveal phantasies with which 
he has veiled his childhood history, just as every people weaves 
myths around its antiquity, we notice (to our comfort) that his 
interest in the further pursuit of the subject suddenly di- 
minishes. He, too, wants to discover realities, and despises all 
"notions." But if until this is accomplished we allow him 
to believe that we are investigationg the actual occurrences of 
his childhood, we run the risk of later being charged with error 
and with our apparent gullibility. For a long time he is un- 
able to reconcile himself to the idea of considering phantasy and 
reality on equal terms and he tends, with reference to the 
childish experiences to be explained, to neglect for the time 
being the difference between the real and the imaginary. And 
yet this is obviously the only correct attitude toward these 
psychological products because they are, in a sense, real. It is 

The Development of the Symptoms 321 

a fact that the patient is able to create such phantasies for him- 
self, and this is of scarcely less importance for his neurosis than 
if he had really undergone the experience which he imagines. 
These phantasies possess psychological reality in contrast to 
physical reality, and so we gradually come to understand that 
in the realm of neuroses the psychological reality is the deter- 
mining factor. 

Among the experiences which recur continually in the early 
history of neurotics and, in fact, are never lacking, some are 
of particular significance and accordingly I consider them 
worthy of special treatment. I shall enumerate a few examples 
of this species : observation of the parental intercourse, seduction 
by an adult, and the threat of castration. It would be a 
grievous error to assume that physical reality can never be 
accorded them; this may often be proved beyond doubt by the 
testimony of adult relatives. So, for example, it is not at all 
unusual if the little boy who begins to play with his penis, and 
does not yet know that one must conceal this, is threatened by 
his parents or nurse with the cutting off of the organ or the 
guilty hand. Parents often admit upon questioning that they 
thought they had done the right thing by this intimidation; 
many individuals retain a correct, conscious memory of these 
threats, especially if it has occurred in later childhood. When 
the mother or some other woman makes the threat she usually 
delegates the responsibility of executing it to the father or to 
the doctor. In the famous Struwwelpeter by the podiatrist 
Hoffman, of Frankfort, rhymes which owe their popularity to 
his very fine understanding of the sexual and other complexes 
of childhood, you find a milder substitute for castration in the 
cutting off of the thumbs as a punishment for insistent sucking. 
But it is highly improbable that the threat of castration is 
actually made as often as it occurs in the analyses of neurotics. 
We are content to understand that the child imaginatively con- 
structs this threat for himself from suggestions, from the knowl- 
edge that auto-erotic satisfaction is forbidden, and from the 
impression of castration he has received in discovering the fe- 
male genital. It is, moreover, in no way impossible that the 
little child, so long as he is not credited with any understanding 
or memory, will, even in families outside the proletariat, become 
a witness to the sexual act between his parents or some other 

322 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

group-lips, and it cannot be disproved that the child subse- 
quently understands this impression, and may react upon it. 
But when this intercourse is described with minute details which 
could hardly have been observed, or if it turns out to be, as it 
so frequently does, an intercourse which was not face to face, 
more ferarum, there is no longer any doubt that this phantasy 
is derived from the observation of the intercourse of animals 
(dogs) and the unsatisfied curiosity of the child in his period 
of puberty. The greatest feat of the imagination is the phantasy 
of having witnessed the coitus of the parents while still unborn 
in the mother's womb. Of especial interest is the phantasy of 
having been seduced, because so often it is not a phantasy at all, 
but a real memory. But luckily it is not real so often as first 
appears from the results of analysis. Seduction by older chil- 
dren, or children of the same age, is much more frequent than 
seduction by adults, and if, in the case of little girls, the father 
quite regularly appears as the seducer in the occurrences which 
they relate, neither the fantastic nature of this accusation nor 
its motive can be doubted. The child as a rule covers the auto- 
erotic period of his sexual activity, where there has been no 
actual seduction, with the seduction-phantasy. He spares himself 
the shame of onanism by imagining the presence of an object for 
his desires in that early period. As a matter of fact, you must 
not be misled in attributing sexual misuse of the child by its 
nearest male relatives solely and always to phantasy. Most 
analysts have probably treated cases in which such relations were 
real and could be proved beyond doubt, with the qualification 
that in such cases they belong to the later years of childhood and 
were transposed to an earlier time. 

"We cannot avoid the impression that such experiences of child- 
hood are in some way necessary to the neurosis, that they are 
claimed by its iron rule. If they exist in reality, then well and 
good, but if reality has withheld them they are constructed from 
suggestions and supplemented by the imagination. The result 
is the same, and to this day we have been unable to trace any 
difference in the results, whether fancy or fact played the 
larger part in these childish occurrences. Here again we en- 
counter one of the complementary relationships so frequently 
met with; it is, to be sure, the most estranging of all those we 
have become acquainted with. "Whence comes the need for these 

The Development of the Symptoms 323 

phantasies, and the material for them? There can be no doubt 
as to the sources of the impulse, but we must explain why the 
same phantasies are always created with the same content. I 
have an answer in readiness which I know you will think very 
far-fetched. I am of the opinion that these primal phantasies 
so I should like to term these, and certainly some others also 
are a phylogenetic possession. In them the individual reaches 
out beyond his own life, into the experiences of antiquity, where 
his own experience has become all too rudimentary. It seems 
very possible to me that everything which is obtained during 
an analysis in the guise of phantasy, the seduction of children, 
the release of sexual excitement by watching parental inter- 
course, the threat of castration or rather castration itself 
were once realities in the primeval existence of mankind and 
that the imaginative child is merely filling in the gaps of 
individual truth with prehistoric truth. We have again and 
again suspected that the psychology of neuroses stores up more 
of the antiquities of human development than all other sources. 

What we have just discussed makes it necessary for us to enter 
further into the origin and significance of that mental activity 
that is called imagination. As you well know, it enjoys universal 
esteem, although we have never clearly understood its place in 
the psychic life. I have this much to say about it. As you 
know, the ego of man is slowly educated by the influence of 
external necessity to an appreciation of reality and a pursuit 
of the principle of reality, and must therefore renounce tem- 
porarily or permanently various objects and goals of its strivings 
for satisfaction, sexual and otherwise. But renunciation of 
gratification has always been difficult for man. He cannot ac- 
complish it without something in the nature of compensation. 
Accordingly he has reserved for himself a psychological activity 
wherein all these abandoned sources of pleasures and means of 
pleasurable gratification are granted a further existence, a form 
of existence in which they are freed from the requirements of 
reality and what we like to call the test of reality. Every im- 
pulse is soon transformed into the form of its own fulfillment. 
There is no doubt that dwelling on the imagined fulfillment of a 
given wish affords some satisfaction, although the realization that 
it is unreal is unobscured. In the activity of the imagination, 
man enjoys that freedom from external compulsion that he has 

324 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

long since renounced. He has made it possible to be alternately 
a pleasure-seeking animal and a reasoning human being. He 
finds that the scant satisfaction that he can force out of reality 
is not enough. "There is no getting along without auxiliary- 
constructions," Th. Fontaine once said. The creation of the 
psychic realm of fancy has its complete counterpart in the estab- 
lishment of "preserves" and "conservation projects" in those 
places where the demands of husbandry, traffic and industry 
threaten quickly to change the original face of the earth into 
something unrecognizable. The national reserves maintain this 
old condition of things, which otherwise has everywhere been 
regretfully sacrificed to necessity. Everything may grow and 
spread there as it will, even that which is useless and harmful. 
The psychic realm of phantasy is such a reservation withdrawn 
from the principles of reality. 

The best known productions of phantasy are the so-called "day 
dreams/' which we already know, pictured satisfactions of am- 
bitious, of covetous and erotic wishes, which flourish the more 
grandly the more reality admonishes them to modesty and 
patience. There is unmistakably shown in them the nature of 
imaginative happiness, the restoration of the independence of 
pleasurable gratification from the acquiescence of reality. We 
know such day dreams are nuclei and models for the dreams of 
night. The night dream is essentially nothing but a day dream, 
distorted by the nocturnal forms of psychological activity, and 
made available by the freedom which the night gives to in- 
stinctive impulses. "We have already become acquainted with 
the idea that a day dream is not necessarily conscious, that there 
are also unconscious day dreams. Such unconscious day dreams 
are as much the source of night dreams as of neurotic symptoms. 

The significance of phantasy for the development of symptoms 
will become clear to you by the following : We have said that in 
a case of renunciation, the libido occupies regressively the posi- 
tions once abandoned by it, to which, nevertheless, it has clung 
in certain ways. We shall neither retract this statement nor 
correct it, but we shall insert a missing link. How does the 
libido find its way to these points of fixation? Well, every 
object and tendency of the libido that has been abandoned, is 
not abandoned in every sense of the word. They, or their 
derivatives, are still held in presentations of the phantasy, with a 

The Development of the Symptoms 325 

certain degree of intensity. The libido need only retire to the 
imagination in order to find from them the open road to all sup- 
pressed fixations. These phantasies were happy under a sort of 
tolerance, there was no conflict between them and the ego, no 
matter how acute the contrast, so long as a certain condition 
was observed a condition quantitative in nature that is now 
disturbed by the flowing back of the libido to the phantasies. By 
this addition the accumulation of energy in the phantasies is 
heightened to such a degree that they become assertive and 
develop a pressure in the direction of realization. But that 
makes a conflict between them and the ego inevitable. Whether 
formerly conscious or unconscious, they now are subject to sup- 
pression by the ego and are victims to the attraction of the 
unconscious. The libido wanders from phantasies now uncon- 
scious to their sources in unconsciousness, and back to its own 
points of fixation. 

The return of the libido to phantasy is an intermediate step 
on the road to symptom development and well deserves a special 
designation. C. G. Jung coined for it the very appropriate 
name of introversion, but inappropriately he also lets it stand 
for other things. Let us therefore retain the idea that intro- 
version signifies the turning aside of the libido from the possi- 
bilities of actual satisfaction and the excessive accumulation of 
the phantasies hitherto tolerated as harmless. An introvert is 
not yet a neurotic, but he finds himself in a labile situation ; he 
must develop symptoms at the next dislocation of forces, if he 
does not find other outlets for his pent-up libido. The intangible 
nature of neurotic satisfaction and the neglect of the difference 
between imagination and reality are already determined by 
arrest in the phase of introversion. 

You have certainly noticed that in the last discussions I have 
introduced a new factor into the structure of the etiological 
chain, namely, the quantity, the amount of energy that comes 
under consideration. We must always take this factor into 
account. Purely qualitative analysis of the etiological conditions 
is not suifieient. Or, to put it in another way, a dynamic concep- 
tion alone of these psychic processes is not enough ; there is need 
of an economic viewpoint. We must say to ourselves that the 
conflict between two impulses is not released before certain 
occupation-intensities have been reached, even though the quali 

326 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

tative conditions have long been potent. Similarly, the patho. 
genie significance of the constitutional factors is guided by 
how much more of a given component impulse is present in the 
predisposition over and above that of another; one can even 
conceive the predispositions of all men to be qualitatively the 
same and to be differentiated only by these quantitative condi- 
tions. The quantitative factor is no less important for the power 
of resistance against neurotic ailments. It depends upon what 
amount of unused libido a person can. hold freely suspended, 
and upon how large a fraction of the libido he is able to direct 
from the sexual path to the goal of sublimation. The final goal 
of psychological activity, which may be described qualitatively 
as striving towards pleasure-acquisition and avoidance of un- 
pleasantness, presents itself in the light of economic considera- 
tions as the task of overcoming the gigantic stimuli at work in 
the psychological apparatus, and to prevent those obstructions 
which cause unpleasantness. 

So much I wanted to tell you about symptom development 
in the neuroses. Yes, but do not let me neglect to emphasize this 
especially: everything I have said here relates to the symptom 
development in hysteria. Even in compulsion neuroses, which 
retain the same fundamentals, much is found that is different. 
The counter-siege directed against the claims of the instincts, 
of which we have spoken in connection with hysteria, press to 
the fore in compulsion neuroses, and control the clinical picture 
by means of so-called "reaction-formations." The same kind 
and more far-reaching variations are discoverable among the 
other neuroses, where the investigations as to the mechanism of 
symptom development have in no way been completed. 

Before I leave you today I should like to have your attention 
for a while for an aspect of imaginative life which is worthy 
of the most general interest. For there is a way back from 
imagination to reality and that is art. The artist is an incipient 
introvert who is not far from being a neurotic. He is impelled 
by too powerful instinctive needs. He wants to achieve honor, 
power, riches, fame and the love of women. But he lacks the 
means of achieving these satisfactions. So like any other un- 
satisfied person, he turns away from reality, and transfers all 
his interests, his libido, too, to the elaboration of his imaginary 
wishes, all of which might easily point the way to neurosis. A 

The Development of the Symptoms 327 

great many factors must combine to present this termination of 
his development; it is well known how often artists especially 
suffer from a partial inhibition of their capacities through 
neurosis. Apparently their constitutions are strongly endowed 
with an ability to sublimize and to shift the suppression deter- 
mining their conflicts. The artist finds the way back to reality 
in this way. He is not the only one who has a life of imagination. 
The twilight-realm of phantasy is upheld by the sanction of 
humanity and every hungry soul looks here for help and sym- 
pathy. But for those who are not artists, the ability to obtain 
satisfaction from imaginative sources is very restricted. Their 
relentless suppressions force them to be satisfied with the sparse 
day dreams which may become conscious. If one is a real artist 
he has more at his disposal. In the first place, he understands 
how to elaborate his day dreams so that they lose their essentially 
personal element, which would repel strangers, and yield satis- 
faction to others as well. He also knows how to disguise them so 
that they do not easily disclose their origin in their despised 
sources. He further possesses the puzzling ability of molding 
a specific material into a faithful image of the creatures of his 
imagination, and then he is able to attach to this representation 
of his unconscious phantasies so much pleasurable gratification 
that, for a time at least, it is able to outweigh and release the 
suppressions. If he is able to accomplish all this, he makes it 
possible for others, in their return, to obtain solace and consola- 
tion from their own unconscious sources of gratification which 
had become inaccessible. He wins gratitude and admiration for 
himself and so, by means of his imagination, achieves the very 
things which had at first only an imaginary existence for him? 
honor, power, and the love of women. 



Ordinary Nervousness 

IN our last discussion we accomplish a difficult task, 
Now I shall temporarily leave our subject and address 
myself to you. 

For I know quite well that you are dissatisfied. You 
thought that an introduction to psychoanalysis would be quite 
a different matter. You expected to hear vivid illustrations 
instead of theories. You will tell me that when I gave you the 
illustration of "on the ground floor in the first story," you 
had grasped something of the causation of neurosis, only of 
course this should have been a real observation and not an 
imaginary story. Or, when in the beginning I described two 
symptoms (not imaginary also, let us hope) whose analysis 
revealed a close connection with the life of the patient, you first 
came to grasp the meaning of the symptoms and you hoped 
that I would proceed in the same way. Instead I have given 
you theories lengthy, difficult to see in perspective and incom- 
plete, to which something new was constantly being added. 
I worked with conceptions that I had not previously presented 
to you, abandoned descriptive for dynamic conceptions, and these 
in turn for economic ones. I made it hard for you to understand 
how many of the artificial terms I made use of still carry the 
same meaning and are used interchangeably only for the sake 
of euphony. Finally, I allowed broad conceptions to pass in 
review before you: the principles of pleasure and of fact and 
their phylogenetically inherited possession; and then, instead 
of introducing you to definite facts, I allowed them to become 
increasingly vague till they seemed to fade into dim distances. 

Why did I not begin my introduction to the theory of neurosis 
with the facts that you yourselves know about nervousness, with 
something that has always aroused your interest, with the 


Ordinary Nervousness 329 

peculiar temperament of nervous people, their incomprehensible 
reactions to external influences, to human intercourse, their irri- 
tability, their uselessness ? Why did I not lead you step by step 
from the understanding of simple, everyday forms to the prob- 
lems of mysterious and extreme manifestations of nervousness? 

I cannot even say that you are wrong. I am not so infatuated 
with my art of representation as to see some special attraction 
in every blemish. I myself believe that I could have proceeded 
differently, to your better advantage, and this indeed had been 
my intention. But one cannot always carry out one 's sensible in- 
tentions. The nature of the subject matter issues its own com- 
mands, and easily modifies our plans. Even so usual a per- 
formance as the organization of well-known material is not 
entirely subject to the particular purposes of the author. It 
forms itself as it will and later one wonders why it turned out 
so and not otherwise. 

Probably one of the reasons is that the title, A General Intro- 
duction to Psychoanalysis, no longer applies to this part, which 
deals with the neuroses. The introduction to psychoanalysis is 
found in the study of errors and the dream; the theory of 
neurosis is psychoanalysis itself. I do not think that in so short 
a time I could have given you a knowledge of the theory of 
neurosis other than in concentrated form. It was necessary to 
present to you connectedly the meaning and interpretation of the 
symptoms, their external and internal conditions and their bear- 
ing on the mechanism of symptom formation. This I have at- 
tempted to do ; it is practically the nucleus of the material that 
modern psychoanalysis is able to offer. We had to say quite a 
good deal concerning the libido and its development, and some- 
thing as well concerning the development of the ego. The intro- 
duction had already prepared you for the presuppositions of our 
technique, for the large aspects of the unconscious and of sup- 
pression (resistance). In a subsequent lecture you will learn 
from what points psychoanalysis proceeds organically. For the 
present I have not sought to hide from you the fact that all our 
results are based on the study of a single group of nervous af- 
fections, the so-called transference neuroses. Though you have 
gained no positive knowledge and have not retained every detail, 
still I hope that you have a fair picture of the methods, the 
problems and the results of psychoanalysis. 

330 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

I have assumed that it was your wish for me to begin my 
presentation of neuroses with a description of nervous behavior, 
the nature of neurotic suffering, and the way in which the 
nervous meet the conditions of their illness and adapt themselves 
to these. Such subject matter is certainly interesting and well 
worth knowing. It is moreover not very hard to handle, yet 
it is not wise to begin with its consideration. There is danger 
of not discovering the unconscious, of overlooking the great sig- 
nificance of the libido, of judging all conditions as they appear 
to the ego of the nervous person. It is obvious that this ego 
is neither a reliable nor an impartial authority. For this very 
ego is the force that denies and suppresses the unconscious; 
When the unconscious is concerned, how then could we expect 
justice to be done ? The rejected claims of sexuality stand first 
in the line of these suppressions; it is natural that from the 
standpoint of the ego we can never learn their extent and sig- 
nificance. As soon as we attain to the point of view of suppres- 
sion, we are sufficiently warned not to make one of the contend- 
ing factions, above all not to make the victor judge of the 
struggle. We are prepared to find that the testimony of the ego 
may lead us astray. If one is to believe the evidence of the ego, 
it would appear to have been active all along, all its symptoms 
would have been actively willed and formed. Yet we know that 
it has passively allowed a great deal to occur, a fact which it 
subsequently seeks to conceal and to palliate. To be sure, it 
does not always attempt this ; in the case of the symptoms of com- 
pulsion neurosis it must admit that it is being opposed by some- 
thing alien, which it can resist only with difficulty. 

"Whoever does not heed these warnings not to mistake the 
prevarications of the ego for truth, has clear sailing; he avoids 
all the resistances which oppose the psychoanalytic emphasis 
upon the unconscious, on sexuality, and on the passiveness of 
the ego. He will assert with Alfred Adler that the "nervous 
character" is the cause instead of the result of the neurosis, 
but he will not be able to explain a single detail of symptom 
formation or to interpret a single dream. 

You will ask : Is it not possible to do justice to the part the 
ego plays in nervousness and in symptom formation without 
crudely neglecting the factors revealed by psychoanalysis? I 
answer you: Surely it must be possible and at some time or 

Ordinary Nervousness 331 

other it will take place ; but the methods by which we organize 
the work of psychoanalysis do not favor our beginning with 
just this task. "We can foresee the time when this task will 
claim the attention of psychoanalysis. There are forms of 
neuroses, the so-called narcistic neuroses, in which the ego 
is far more deeply involved than in anything we have studied 
heretofore. The analytic investigation of these conditions will 
enable us to judge reliably and impartially the part that the 
ego plays in neurotic illness. 

One of the relations which the ego bears to its neurosis is so 
obvious that it must be considered at the very outset. In no 
case does it seem to be absent, and it is most clearly recog- 
nizable in the traumatic neuroses, conditions which we do not as 
yet clearly understand. You must know that in the causation 
and mechanisms of all possible forms of neurosis, the same 
factors are active again and again ; it is only the emphasis that 
is shifted from one to the other of these factors in symptom 
formation. The members of a company of actors each have 
certain parts to play hero, villain, confidant, etc. yet each will 
select a different drama for his benefit. Thus the phantasies 
which undergo conversion into symptoms are especially easy to 
detect in hysteria ; compulsion neuroses are essentially dominated 
by the reactionary formations, or counter-seizures of the ego; 
what we designate as secondary elaboration in dreams dominates 
paranoia in the form of delusions, etc. 

In traumatic neuroses, particularly if they are caused by the 
horrors of war, we are especially impressed by a selfish ego- 
impulse which seeks protection and personal advantage. This 
in itself is not a sufficient cause for illness, but it can favor its 
beginning and also feed its needs once it has been established. 
This motive serves to protect the ego from the dangers whose 
imminence precipitated the disease, and does not permit con- 
valescence until the recurrence of these dangers seems impos- 
sible, or until compensation has been obtained for the danger 
that has been undergone. 

But the ego betrays similar interest in the origin and main- 
tenance of all other neuroses. We have already said that the 
ego suffers the symptom to exist, because one of its phases grati- 
fies the egoistic tendency toward suppression. Besides, the end- 
ing of the conflict by means of symptom development is the 

332 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

path of least resistance, and a most convenient solution for the 
principle of pleasure. Through symptom formation the ego is 
undoubtedly spared a severe and unpleasant inner task. There 
are cases where even the physician must admit that the resolu- 
tion of the conflict into neurosis is the most harmless outcome 
and one most easily tolerated by society. Do not be surprised, 
then, to learn that occasionally even the physician takes the 
part of the illness he is battling against. He does not have to 
restrict himself to the role of the fanatic warrior for health in 
all situations of life. He knows that the world contains not 
only neurotic misery, but also real, incurable suffering. He 
knows that necessity may even require a human being to sacrifice 
his health, and he learns that by this sacrifice on the part of one 
individual untold wretchedness may be spared for many others. 
So if we say that the neurotic escapes the conflict by taking 
refuge in illness, we must admit that in some cases this escape 
is justifiable, and the physician who has diagnosed the state of 
affairs will retire silently and tactfully. 

But let us not consider these special cases in our further 
discussion. In average cases the ego, by having recourse to 
neurosis, obtains a certain inner advantage from the disease. 
Under certain conditions of life, there may also be derived a 
tangible external advantage, more or less valuable in reality. 
Let me direct your attention to the most frequent occurrences 
of this sort. "Women who are brutally treated and mercilessly 
exploited by their husbands almost always adopt the evasion of 
the neurosis, provided that their predisposition permits this. 
This usually follows when the woman is too cowardly or too 
virtuous to seek secret solace in the arms of another, or when 
she dare not separate from her husband in the face of all oppo- 
sition, when she has no prospect of maintaining herself or of 
finding a better husband and especially when her sexual emo- 
tions still bind her to this brutal man. Her illness becomes a 
weapon in her struggle with him, one that she can use for self- 
protection and misuse for purposes of vengeance. She probably 
dare not complain of her marriage, but she can complain of her 
illness. The doctor becomes her assistant. She forces her in- 
considerate husband to spare her, to attend to her wishes, to 
permit her absence from the house and thus free her from the 
oppressions of her married life. Wherever such external or 

Ordinary Nervousness 333 

accidental gain through illness is considerable and can find no 
substitute in fact, you can prophesy that the possibility of in' 
fluencing neurosis through therapy is very slight. 

You will tell me that what I have said about the advantage 
gained from the disease speaks entirely for the hypothesis I 
have rejected, namely, that the ego itself wills and creates the 
neurosis. Just a moment! It probably does not mean more 
than that the ego passively suffers the neurosis to exist, which 
it is unable to prevent anyway. It makes the most of the neu- 
rosis, if anything can be made of it at all. This is only one side 
of the question, the advantageous side. The ego is willing to 
endure the advantages of the neurosis, but there are not only 
advantages. As a rule it soon appears that the ego has made 
a poor deal in accepting the neurosis. It has paid too high a 
price for the mitigation of the conflict; and the sensations of 
suffering which the symptoms bring with them are perhaps every 
bit as bad as the agonies of conflict, usually they cause even 
greater discomfort. The ego wants to rid itself of the pain of 
the symptoms without relinquishing the gain of illness, and that 
is impossible. Thus the ego is discovered as by no means so 
active as it had thought itself to be, and this we want to keep 
in mind. 

If you were to come into contact with neurotics as a physician, 
you would soon cease to expect that those who complain most 
woefully of their illness are the ones who will oppose its therapy 
with the least resistance or who will welcome any help. On 
the contrary, you would readily understand that everything 
contributing to the advantage derived from the disease will 
strengthen the resistance to the suppression and heighten the 
difficulty of the therapy. We must also add another and later 
advantage to the gain of illness which is born with the symptom. 
If a psychic organization, such as this illness, has persisted for 
a long time, it finally behaves as an independent unit, it ex- 
presses something like self-preservation, attains a kind of 
modus vivendi between itself and other parts of psychic life, 
even those that are fundamentally hostile to it. And occasions 
will probably arise where it can prove again to be both useful 
and valuable, by which it will attain a secondary function, 
which gives strength to its existence. Instead of an illustration 
from pathology take a striking example from everyday life. 

334 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

An efficient workman who earns his living is crippled for hi* 
occupation by some disaster; his work is over for him. After 
a while, however, he receives a small accident insurance, and 
learns to exploit his injury by begging. His new existence, 
though most undesirable, is based upon the very thing that 
robbed him of his former maintenance. If you could cure his 
defect, he would be without a means of subsistence, he would 
have no livelihood. The question would arise : Is he capable of 
resuming his former work? That which corresponds to such 
secondary exploitation of illness in neurosis we may add to the 
primary benefit derived therefrom and may term it a secondary 
advantage of disease. 

In general I should like to warn you not to underestimate the 
practical significance of the advantage from illness and yet not 
to be too much impressed by it theoretically. Aside from the 
previously recognized exceptions, I am always reminded of 
Oberlander's pictures on "the intelligence of animals" which 
appeared in the Fliegende Blatter. An Arab is riding a camel 
on a narrow path cut through a steep mountain side. At a turn 
of the trail he is suddenly confronted by a lion who makes ready 
to spring. He sees no way out, on one side the precipice, on 
the other the abyss; retreat and flight both are impossible; 
he gives himself up as lost. Not so the camel. He leaps into 
the abyss with his rider and the lion is left in the lurch. The 
help of neurosis is as a rule no kinder to the rider. It may be 
due to the fact that the settlement of the conflict through symp- 
tom development is nevertheless an automatic process, not able 
to meet the demands of life, and for whose sake man renounces 
the use of his best and loftiest powers. If it were possible to 
choose, it were indeed best to perish in an honorable struggle 
with destiny. 

I still owe you further explanation as to why, in my presenta- 
tion of the theory of neurosis, I did not proceed from ordinary 
nervousness as a starting point. You may assume that, had I 
done this, the proof of the sexual origin of neurosis would have 
been more difficult for me, and so I refrained. There you are 
mistaken. In transference neurosis we must work at interpreta- 
tions of the symptoms to arrive at this conclusion. In the ordi- 
nary forms of the so-called true neuroses, however, the etio- 
logical significance of sexual life is a crude fact open to observa- 

Ordinary Nervousness 335 

tion. I discovered it twenty years ago when I asked myself 
one day why we regularly barred out questions concerning 
sexual activity in examining nervous patients. At that time I 
sacrificed my popularity among my patients to my investiga- 
tions, yet after a brief effort I could state that no neurosis, no 
true neurosis at least, is present with a normal sexual life. Of 
course, this statement passes too lightly over the individual 
differences, it is unclear through the vagueness with which it 
uses the term "normal," but even to-day it retains its value 
for purposes of rough orientation. At that time I reached the 
point of drawing comparisons between certain forms of nervous- 
ness and sexual abnormalities, and I do not doubt that I could 
repeat the same observations now, if similar material were at 
my disposal. I frequently noticed that a man who contented 
himself with incomplete sexual gratification, with manual anon- 
ism, for instance, would suffer from a true neurosis, and that 
this neurosis would promptly give way to another form, if an- 
other sexual regime no less harmful were substituted. From 
the change in the condition of the patient I was able to guess 
the change in the mode of his sexual life. At that time I 
learned to hold obstinately to my conjectures until I had over- 
come the patient's prevarications and had forced him to confirm 
my suppositions. To be sure, then he preferred to consult other 
physicians who did not inquire so insistently into his sexual life. 
At that time it did not escape my notice that the origin of 
the disease could not always be traced back to sexual life; 
sexual abnormality would cause the illness in one person, while 
another would fall ill because he had lost his fortune or had 
suffered an exhausting organic disease. We gained insight into 
this variation by means of the interrelations between the ego 
and the libido, and the more profound our insight became, the 
more satisfactory were the results. A person begins to suffer 
from neurosis when his ego has lost the capacity of accommo- 
dating the libido. The stronger the ego, the easier the solution 
of the problem; a weakening of the ego from any cause what- 
soever has the same effect as a superlative increase of the claims 
of the libido. There are other and more intimate relations 
between the ego and the libido which I shall not discuss, as we 
are not concerned with them here. To us it is of enlightening 
significance that in every case, regardless of the way in which 

336 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

the illness was caused, the symptoms of neurosis were opposed 
by the libido and thus gave evidence for its abnormal use. 

Now, however, I want to draw your attention to the difference 
between the symptoms of the true neuroses and the psycho- 
neuroses, the first group of which, the transference neurosis, has 
occupied us considerably. In both cases the symptoms proceed 
from the libido. They are accordingly abnormal uses of it, sub- 
stitutes for gratification. But the symptoms of the true neurosis 
such as pressure in the head, sensations of pain, irritability of 
an organ, weakening or inhibition of a function these have no 
meaning, no psychic significance. They are manifested not 
only in the body, as for instance hysteric symptoms, but are 
in themselves physical processes whose creation is devoid of all 
the complicated psychic mechanism with which we have become 
acquainted. They really embody the character that has so long 
been attributed to the psychoneurotic symptom. But how can 
they then correspond to uses of the libido, which we have come 
to know as a psychological farce? That is quite simple. Let 
me recall one of the very first objections that was made to 
psychoanalysis. It was stated that psychoanalysis was con- 
cerned with a purely psychological theory of neurotic manifesta- 
tions; that this was a hopeless outlook since psychological theo- 
ries could never explain illness. The objectors chose to forget 
that the sexual function is neither purely psychic nor merely 
somatic. It influences physical as well as psychic life. In the 
symptoms of the psychoneuroses we have recognized the expres- 
sion of a disturbance in psychic processes. And so we shall not 
be surprised to discover that the true neuroses are the direct 
somatic consequences of sexual disturbances. 

The medical clinic gives us a valuable suggestion (observed 
by many research workers) for the comprehension of the true 
neuroses. In all the details of their symptomatology, and as 
well in their characteristic power to influence all organic sys- 
tems and all functions, the true neuroses reveal a marked simi- 
larity to the conditions of those diseases which originate through 
the chronic influence of foreign poisons and as well through 
their acute diminution ; with conditions prevalent in intoxication 
and abstinence. The two groups of conditions are brought still 
closer together by the relation of intermediate conditions, which, 
following M. Basedowi, we have learned to attribute to the influ- 

Ordinary Nervousness 337 

ence of toxic substances, but of toxins, however, which are not 
introduced into the body from without, but arise in its own 
metabolism. These analogies, I think, lead us directly to the 
consideration of these neuroses as disturbances in sexual metabo- 
lism. It may be that more sexual toxins are produced than the 
individual can dispose of, or that inner, even psychic conditions, 
stand in the way of the proper elaboration of these substances. 
The language of the people has always favored such assumptions 
as to the nature of sexual desires. It calls love an "intoxica- 
tion"; it will have love-madness aroused through potions, and 
thus sees the motive force removed, as it were, to the outer world. 
For the rest, the phrase "sexual metabolism" or "chemism of 
sexuality" is a chapter-head without content. We know nothing 
about it and cannot even decide whether we are to assume two 
sexual substances, the male and the female, or, if there is 
only one sexual toxin, which to consider the carrier of all the 
stimulating power of the libido. The structure of psychoanalysis 
that we have erected is really only a superstructure which at 
some future time must be placed upon its organic foundation; 
but what this is we do not know as yet. 

Psychoanalysis is characterized as a science, not by reason of 
the subject matter it handles but by the technique it employs. 
This can be employed in dealing with the history of civilization, 
the science of religion or mythology, as well as with the theory 
of neurosis, without altering its character. The revealing of the 
unconscious in psychic life is all it aims to accomplish. The 
problems of the true neuroses, whose symptoms probably origi- 
nate in direct toxic damage, yield no point of attack to psycho- 
analysis. Psychoanalysis can do little for their elucidation, and 
must leave the task to biological-medical research. Perhaps you 
understand now why I did not choose to organize my material 
differently. If I had given to you an Introduction to the 
Theory of the Neuroses as you wished, it would unquestionably 
have been correct to proceed from the simple forms of the true 
neuroses to those complex illnesses caused by a disturbance of 
the libido. In discussing the true neuroses I would have had to 
bring together the facts we have gleaned from various quarters 
and present what we think we know of them. Only later, under 
the psychoneuroses, would psychoanalysis have been discussed 
as the most important technical aid for insight into these con- 

338 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ditions. I had, however, intended and announced A General 7n- 
troduction to Psychoanalysis, and it seemed to me more import- 
ant to give you an idea of psychoanalysis than to present certain 
positive facts about neuroses ; and so I could not place the true 
neuroses into the foreground, for they prove sterile for the 
purposes of psychoanalysis. I believe that I have made the 
wiser choice for you, since psychoanalysis deserves the interest 
of every educated person because of its profound hypotheses 
and far-reaching connections. The theory of neurosis, on the 
other hand, is a chapter of medicine like any other. 

You are, however, justified in expecting some interest on our 
part in the true neuroses. Because of their intimate connection 
with psychoneuroses we find this decidedly necessary. I shall 
tell you then that we distinguish three pure forms of true 
neuroses: neurasthenia, anxiety neurosis and hypochondria. 
Even this classification has not remained uncontradicted. The 
terms are all widely used, but their connotation is vague and 
uncertain. Besides, there are in this world of confusion physi- 
cians who object to any distinctions between manifestations, any 
emphasis of clinical detail, who do not even recognize the separa- 
tion of true neuroses and psychoneuroses. I think they have gone 
too far and have not chosen the road which leads to progress. The 
types of neuroses we have mentioned occur occasionally in pure 
form; more often they are blended with one another or with a 
psychoneurotic condition. This need not discourage us to the 
extent of abandoning the task of distinction. Think of the differ- 
ence between the study of minerals and that of ores in mineral- 
ogy. Minerals are described as individuals ; frequently of course 
they occur as crystals, separated sharply from their surround- 
ings. Ores consist of an aggregate of minerals which have 
coalesced not accidentally, but as a result of the conditions of 
their origin. We understand too little of the process of develop- 
ment of neuroses, to create anything similar to the study of ores. 
But we are surely working in the right direction when we isolate 
the known clinical factors, comparable to the separate minerals, 
from the great mass. 

A noteworthy connection between the symptoms of the true 
neuroses and the psychoneuroses adds a valuable contribution to 
our knowledge of symptom formation in the latter. The symp- 
tom in the true neuroses is frequently the nucleus and incipient 

Ordinary Nervousness 339 

stage of development of the psychoneurotic symptom. Such a 
connection is most easily observed between neurasthenia and the 
transference neuroses, which are termed conversion hysteria, be- 
tween anxiety neurosis and anxiety hysteria, but also between hy- 
pochondria and paraphrenia (dementia praecox and paranoia), 
forms of neuroses of which we shall speak subsequently. Let us 
take as an illustration the hysteric headache or backache. 
Analysis shows that through elaboration and displacement this 
pain has become the gratification substitute for a whole series of 
libidinous phantasies or reminiscences. But once upon a time 
this pain was real, a direct sexual toxic symptom, the physical 
expression of libidinous excitation. We do not wish to assert, 
by any means, that all hysteric symptoms can be traced to such 
a nucleus, but it is true that this is frequently the case, and that 
all influences upon the body through libidinous excitation, 
whether normal or pathological, are especially significant for the 
symptom development in hysteria. They play the part of the 
grain of sand which the mollusc has enveloped in mother-of- 
pearl. In the same way passing signs of sexual excitation, which 
accompany the sexual act, are used by psychoneurosis as the 
most convenient and appropriate material for symptom forma- 

A similar procedure is of diagnostic and therapeutic interest 
especially. Persons who are disposed to be neurotic, without 
suffering from a flourishing neurosis, frequently set in motion 
the work of symptom development as the result of an abnormal 
physical change often an inflammation or an injury. This 
development rapidly makes the symptom given by reality the 
representative of the unconscious phantasies that had been lurk- 
ing for an opportunity to seize upon a means of expression. In 
such a case the physician will try different ways of therapy. 
Either he will try to do away with the organic basis without 
bothering about its noisy neurotic elaboration, or he will struggle 
with the neurosis brought out by the occasion, and ignore its 
organic cause. The result will justify now one, now the other 
method of procedure; no general laws can be laid down for 
such mixed cases. 



Fear and Anxiety 

PROBABLY you will term what I told you about ordinary 
nervousness in my last lecture most fragmentary and 
unsatisfactory information. I know this, and I think 
you were probably most surprised that I did not men- 
tion fear, which most nervous people complain of and describe 
as their greatest source of suffering. It can attain a terrible 
intensity which may result in the wildest enterprises. But I do 
not wish to fall short of your expectations in this matter. I 
intend, on the contrary, to treat the problem of the fear of 
nervous people with great accuracy and to discuss it with you 
at some length. 

Fear itself needs no introduction ; everyone has at some time 
or other known this sensation or, more precisely, this effect. 
It seems to me that we never seriously inquired why the nervous 
suffered so much more and so much more intensely under this 
condition. Perhaps it was thought a matter of course; it is 
usual to confuse the words "nervous" and "anxious" as though 
they meant the same thing. That is unjustifiable; there are 
anxious people who are not nervous, and nervous people who 
suffer from many symptoms, but not from the tendency to 

However that may be, it is certain that the problem of fear 
is the meeting point of many important questions, an enigma 
whose complete solution would cast a flood of light upon psychic 
life. I do not claim that I can furnish you with this complete 
solution, but you will certainly expect psychoanalysis to deal 
with this theme in a manner different from that of the schools 
of medicine. These schools seem to be interested primarily in 
the anatomical cause of the condition of fear. They say the 
medulla oblongata is irritated, and the patient learns that he is 


Fear and Anxiety 341 

suffering from neurosis of the nervus vague. The medulla 
oblongata is a very serious and beautiful object. I remember 
exactly how much time and trouble I devoted to the study of it, 
years ago. But today I must say that I know of nothing more 
indifferent to me for the psychological comprehension of fear, 
than knowledge of the nerve passage through which these sen- 
sations must pass. 

One can talk about fear for a long time without even touching 
upon nervousness. You will understand me without more ado, 
when I term this fear real fear in contrast to neurotic fear. Real 
fear seems quite rational and comprehensible to us. We may 
testify that it is a reaction to the perception of external danger, 
viz., harm that is expected and foreseen. It is related to the 
flight reflex and may be regarded as an expression of the instinct 
of self-preservation. And so the occasions, viz., the objects and 
situations which arouse fear, will depend largely on our knowl- 
edge of and our feeling of power over the outer world. We deem 
it quite a matter of course that the savage fears a cannon or 
an eclipse of the sun, while the white man, who can handle the 
instrument and prophesy the phenomenon, does not fear these 
things. At other times superior knowledge promulgates fear, 
because it recognizes the danger earlier. The savage, for in- 
stance, will recoil before a footprint in the woods, meaningless 
to the uninstructed, which reveals to him the proximity of an 
animal of prey ; the experienced sailor will notice a little cloud, 
which tells him of a coming hurricane, with terror, while to the 
passenger it seems insignificant. 

After further consideration, we must say to ourselves that 
the verdict on real fear, whether it be rational or purposeful, 
must be thoroughly revised. For the only purposeful behavior 
in the face of imminent danger would be the cool appraisal of 
one 's own strength in comparison with the extent of the threaten- 
ing danger, and then decide which would presage a happier 
ending : flight, defense, or possibly even attack. Under such a 
proceeding fear has absolutely no place ; everything that happens 
would be consummated just as well and better without the 
development of fear. You know that if fear is too strong, it 
proves absolutely useless and paralyzes every action, even flight. 
Generally the reaction against danger consists in a mixture of 
fear and resistance. The frightened animal is afraid and flees. 

342 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

But the purposeful factor in such a case is not fear but flight. 

We are therefore tempted to claim that the development of 
fear is never purposeful. Perhaps closer examination will give 
us greater insight into the fear situation. The first factor is 
the expectancy of danger which expresses itself in heightened 
sensory attention and in motor tension. This expectancy is un- 
doubtedly advantageous; its absence may be responsible for 
serious consequences. On the one hand, it gives rise to motor 
activity, primarily to flight, and on a higher plane to active 
defense ; on the other hand, it gives rise to something which we 
consider the condition of fear. 1 In so far as the development is 
still incipient, and is restricted to a mere signal, the more 
undisturbed the conversion of the readiness to be afraid into 
action the more purposeful the entire proceeding. The readi- 
ness to be afraid seems to be the purposeful aspect; evolution 
of fear itself, the element that defeats its own object. 

I avoid entering upon a discussion as to whether our language 
means the same or distinct things by the words anxiety, fear 
or fright. I think that anxiety is used in connection with a 
condition regardless of any objective, while fear is essentially 
directed toward an object. Fright, on the other hand, seems 
really to possess a special meaning, which emphasizes the effects 
of a danger which is precipitated without any expectance or 
readiness of fear. Thus we might say that anxiety protects man 
from fright. 

You have probably noticed the ambiguity and vagueness in 
the use of the word "anxiety." Generally one means a sub- 
jective condition, caused by the perception that an "evolution 
of fear" has been consummated. Such a condition may be called 
an emotion. What is an emotion in the dynamic sense? Cer- 
tainly something very complex. An emotion, in the first place, 
includes indefinite motor innervations or discharges; secondly, 
definite sensations which moreover are of two kinds, the per- 
ception of motor activities that have already taken place, and 
the direct sensations of pleasure and pain, which give the effect 
of what we call its feeling tone. But I do not think that the true 
nature of the emotion has been fathomed by these enumerations. 
We have gained deeper insight into some emotions and realize 
that the thread which binds together such a complex as we have 
described is the repetition of a certain significant experience. 

Fear and Anxiety 343 

This experience might be an early impression of a very general 
sort, which belongs to the antecedent history of the species 
rather than to that of the individual. To be more clear: the 
emotional condition has a structure similar to that of an hysteri- 
cal attack; it is the upshot of a reminiscence. The hysteric 
attack, then, is comparable to a newly formed individual emo- 
tion, the normal emotion to an hysteria which has become a 
universal heritage. 

Do not assume that what I have said here about emotions is 
derived from normal psychology. On the contrary, these are 
conceptions that have grown up with and are at home only in 
psychoanalysis. What psychology has to say about emotions the 
James-Lange theory, for instance is absolutely incomprehensible 
for us psychoanalysts, and cannot be discussed. Of course, we 
do not consider our knowledge about emotions very certain; 
it is a preliminary attempt to become oriented in this obscure 
region. To continue : We believe we know the early impression 
which the emotion of fear repeats. We think it is birth itself 
which combines that complex of painful feelings, of a discharge 
of impulses, of physical sensations, which has become the proto- 
type for the effect of danger to life, and is ever after repeated 
within us as a condition of fear. The tremendous heightening 
of irritability through the interruption of the circulation (in- 
ternal respiration) was at the time the cause of the experience 
of fear ; the first fear was therefore toxic. The name anxiety 
angustial narrowness, emphasizes the characteristic tightening 
of the breath, which was at the time a consequence of an actual 
situation and is henceforth repeated almost regularly in the 
emotion. We shall also recognize how significant it is that this 
first condition of fear appeared during the separation from the 
mother. Of course, we are convinced that the tendency to repeti- 
tion of the first condition of fear has been so deeply ingrained 
in the organism through countless generations, that not a single 
individual can escape the emotion of fear ; not even the mythical 
Macduff who was "cut out of his mother's womb," and there- 
fore did not experience birth itself. We do not know the proto- 
type of the condition of fear in the case of other mammals, and 
so we do not know the complex of emotions that in them is the 
equivalent of our fear. 

Perhaps it will interest you to hear how the idea that birth 

344 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

is the source and prototype of the emotion of fear, happened to 
occur to me. Speculation plays the smallest part in it; I bor- 
rowed it from the native train of thought of the people. Many 
years ago we were sitting around the dinner table a numbel 
of young physicians when an assistant in the obstetrical clinic 
told a jolly story of what had happened in the last examination 
for midwives. A candidate was asked what it implied if during 
delivery the foeces of the newborn was present in the discharge 
of waters, and she answered promptly "the child is afraid." 
She was laughed at and "flunked." But I silently took her 
part and began to suspect that the poor woman of the people 
had, with sound perception, revealed an important connection. 

Proceeding now to neurotic fear, what are its manifestations 
and conditions? There is much to be described. In the first 
place we find a general condition of anxiety, a condition of free- 
floating fear as it were, which is ready to attach itself to any 
appropriate idea, to influence judgment, to give rise to expecta- 
tions, in fact to seize any opportunity to make itself felt. We 
call this condition "expectant fear" or "anxious expectation." 
Persons who suffer from this sort of fear always prophesy the 
most terrible of all possibilities, interpret every coincidence as 
an evil omen, and ascribe a dreadful meaning to all uncertainty. 
Many persons who cannot be termed ill show this tendency to 
anticipate disaster. We blame them for being over-anxious or 
pessimistic. A striking amount of expectant fear is characteris- 
tic of a nervous condition which I have named "anxiety 
neurosis," and which I group with the true neuroses. 

A second form of fear in contrast to the one we have just 
described is psychologically more circumscribed and bound up 
with certain objects or situations. It is the fear of the manifold 
and frequently very peculiar phobias. Stanley Hall, the 
distinguished American psychologist, has recently taken the 
trouble to present a whole series of these phobias in gorgeous 
Greek terminology. They sound like the enumeration of the ten 
Egyptian plagues, except that their number exceeds ten, by far. 
Just listen to all the things which may become the objects of 
contents of a phobia: Darkness, open air, open squares, cats, 
spiders, caterpillars, snakes, mice, thunder-storms, sharp points, 
blood, enclosed spaces, crowds, solitude, passing over a bridge, 
travel on land and sea, etc. A first attempt at orientation in 

F.ear and Anxiety 345 

this chaos leads readily to a division into three groups. Some 
of the fearful objects and situations have something gruesome 
for normal people too, a relation to danger, and so, though they 
are exaggerated in intensity, they do not seem incomprehensible 
to us. Most of us, for instance, experience a feeling of repulsion 
in the presence of a snake. One may say that snakephobia is 
common to all human beings, and Charles Darwin has described 
most impressively how he was unable to control his fear of a 
snake pointing for him, though he knew he was separated from 
it by a thick pane of glass. The second group consists of cases 
which still bear a relation to danger, but this is of a kind which 
we are disposed to belittle rather than to overestimate. Most 
of the situation-phobia belong here. We know that by taking 
a railroad journey we entail greater chance of disaster than by 
staying at home. A collision, for instance, may occur, or a ship 
sink, when as a rule we must drown; yet we do not think of 
these dangers, and free from fear we travel on train and boat. 
We cannot deny that if a bridge should collapse at the moment 
we are crossing it, we would fall into the river, but that is such 
a rare occurrence that we do not take the danger into account. 
Solitude too has its dangers and we avoid it under certain con- 
ditions ; but it is by no means a matter of being unable to suffer 
it for a single moment. The same is true for the crowd, the 
enclosed space, the thunder-storm, etc. It is not at all the 
content but the intensity of these neurotic phobias that appears 
strange to us. The fear of the phobia cannot even be described. 
Sometimes we almost receive the impression that the neurotic 
is not really afraid of the same things and situations that can 
arouse fear in us, and which The calls by the same name. 

There remains a third group of phobias which is entirely un- 
intelligible to us. When a strong, adult man is afraid to cross 
a street or a square of his own home town, when a healthy, well- 
developed woman becomes almost senseless with fear because a 
cat has brushed the hem of her dress or a mouse has scurried 
through the room how are we to establish the relation to 
danger that obviously exists under the phobia ? In these animal 
phobias it cannot possibly be a question of the heightening of 
common human antipathies. For, as an illustration of the 
antithesis, there are numerous persons who cannot pass a cat 
without calling and petting it. The mouse of which women are 

346 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

so much afraid, is at the same time a first class pet name. Many 
a girl who has been gratified to have her lover call her so, 
screams when she sees the cunning little creature itself. The 
behavior of the man who is afraid to cross the street or the 
square can only be explained by saying that he acts like a little 
child. A child is really taught to avoid a situation of this sort 
as dangerous, and our agoraphobist is actually relieved of his 
fear if some one goes with him across the square or street. 

The two forms of fear that have been described, free-floating 
fear and the fear which is bound up with phobias, are independ- 
ent of one another. The one is by no means a higher develop- 
ment of the other ; only in exceptional cases, almost by accident, 
do they occur simultaneously. The strongest condition of gen- 
eral anxiety need not manifest itself in phobias; and persons 
whose entire life is hemmed in by agoraphobia can be entirely 
free of pessimistic expectant fear. Some phobias, such as the 
fear of squares or of trains, are acquired only in later life, while 
others, the fear of darkness, storms and animals, exist from the 
very beginning. The former signify serious illness, the latter 
appear rather as peculiarities, moods. Yet whoever is burdened 
with fear of this second kind may be expected to harbor other 
and similar phobias. I must add that we group all these phobias 
under anxiety hysteria, and therefore regard it as a condition 
closely related to the well-known conversion hysteria. 

The third form of neurotic fear confronts us with an enigma ; 
we loose sight entirely of the connection between fear and 
threatening danger. This anxiety occurs in hysteria, for in- 
stance, as the accompaniment of hysteric symptoms, or under 
certain conditions of excitement, where we would expect an 
emotional manifestation, but least of all of fear, or without refer- 
ence to any known circumstance, unintelligible to us and to the 
patient. Neither far nor near can we discover a danger or a 
cause which might have been exaggerated to such significance. 
Through these spontaneous attacks we learn that the complex 
which we call the condition of anxiety can be resolved into its 
components. The whole attack may be represented by a single 
intensively developed symptom, such as a trembling, dizziness, 
palpitation of the heart, or tightening of breath; the general 
undertone by which we usually recognize fear may be utterly 
lacking or vague. And yet these conditions, which we describe 

Fear and Anxiety 347 

as "anxiety equivalents," are comparable to anxiety in all ita 
clinical and etiological relations. 

Two questions arise. Can we relate neurotic fear, in which 
danger plays so small a part or none at all, to real fear, which 
is always a reaction to danger? And what can we understand 
as the basis of neurotic fear ? For the present we want to hold 
to our expectations: "Wherever there is fear, there must be a 
cause for it." 

Clinical observation yields several suggestions for the compre- 
hension of neurotic fear, the significance of which I shall discuss 
with you. 

1. It. is not difficult to determine that expectant fear or 
general anxiety is closely connected with certain processes in 
sexual life, let us say with certain types of libido. Utilization, 
the simplest and most instructive case of this kind, results when 
persons expose themselves to frustrated excitation, viz., if their 
sexual excitation does not meet with sufficient relief and is not 
brought to a satisfactory conclusion, in men, during the time 
of their engagement to marry, for instance, or in women whose 
husbands are not sufficiently potent or who, from caution, exe- 
cute the sexual act in a shortened or mutilated form. Under 
these circumstances libidinous excitement disappears and anxiety 
takes its place, both in the form of expectant fear and in attacks 
and anxiety equivalents. The cautious interruption of the 
sexual act, when practiced as the customary sexual regime, so 
frequently causes the anxiety neurosis in men, and especially 
in women, that physicians are wise in such cases to examine 
primarily this etiology. On innumerable occasions we have 
learned that anxiety neurosis vanishes when the sexual misuse 
is abandoned. 

So far as I know, the connection between sexual restraint 
and conditions of anxiety is no longer questioned even by phy- 
sicians who have nothing to do with psychoanalysis. But I can 
well imagine that they do not desist from reversing the con- 
nection and saying that these persons have exhibited a tendency 
to anxiety from the outset and therefore practice reserve in 
sexual matters. The behavior of women whose sexual conduct is 
passive, viz., is determined by the treatment of the husband, 
contradicts this supposition. The more temperamental, that is, 
the more disposed toward sexual intercourse and capable of 

348 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

gratification is the woman, the more will she react to the im- 
potence of the man, or to the coitus interruptus, by anxiety 
manifestations. In anaesthetic or only slightly libidinous 
women, such misuse will not carry such consequences. 

Sexual abstinence, recommended so warmly by the physicians 
of to-day, has the same significance in the development of con- 
ditions of anxiety only when the libido, to which satisfactory 
relief is denied, is sufficiently strong and not for the most part 
accounted for by sublimation. The decision whether illness is 
to result always depends upon the quantitative factors. Even 
where character formation and not disease is concerned, we 
easily recognize that sexual constraint goes hand in hand with 
a certain anxiety, a certain caution, while fearlessness and bold 
daring arise from free gratification of sexual desires. However 
much these relations are altered by various influences of civiliza- 
tion, for the average human being it is true that anxiety and 
sexual constraint belong together. 

I have by no means mentioned all the observations that speak 
for the genetic relation of the libido to fear. The influence on 
the development of neurotic fear of certain phases of life, such 
as puberty and the period of menopause, when the production 
of libido is materially heightened, belongs here too. In some 
conditions of excitement we may observe the mixture of anxiety 
and libido and the final substitution of anxiety for libido. These 
facts give us a twofold impression, first that we are concerned 
with an accumulation of libido, which is diverted from its normal 
channel, second that we are working with somatic processes. Just 
how anxiety originates from the libido we do not know ; we can 
only ascertain that the libido is in abeyance, and that we observe 
anxiety in its place. 

2. We glean a second hint from the analysis of the psycho- 
neuroses, especially of hysteria. We have heard that in addition 
to the symptoms, fear frequently accompanies this condition; 
this, however, is free floating fear, which is manifested either 
as an attack or becomes a permanent condition. The patients 
cannot tell what they are afraid of and connect their fear, 
through an unmistakable secondary elaboration, with phobias 
nearest at hand; death, insanity, paralysis. When we analyze 
the situation which gave rise to the anxiety or to symptoms 
accompanied by it, we can generally tell which normal psycho- 

Fear and Anxiety 349 

logic process has been omitted and has been replaced by the 
phenomenon of fear. Let me express it differently: we re- 
construct the unconscious process as though it had not experi- 
enced suppression and had continued its way into consciousness 
uninterruptedly. Under these conditions as well this process 
would have been accompanied by an emotion, and we now learn 
with surprise that when suppression has occurred the emotion 
accompanying the normal process has been replaced by fear, 
regardless of its original quality. In hysteric conditions of fear, 
its unconscious correlative may be either an impulse of similar 
character, such as fear, shame, embarrassment or positive libidi- 
nous excitation, or hostile and aggressive emotion such as fury 
or rage. Fear then is the common currency for which all emo- 
tional impulses can be exchanged, provided that the idea with 
which it has been associated has been subject to suppression. 

3. Patients suffering from compulsive acts are remarkably 
devoid of fear. They yield us the data for our third point. If 
we try to hinder them in the performance of their compulsive 
acts, of their washing or their ceremonials, or if they themselves 
dare to give up one of their compulsions, they are seized with 
terrible fear that again exacts obedience to the compulsion. We 
understand that the compulsive act had veiled fear and had 
been performed only to avoid it. In compulsion neurosis then, 
fear, which would otherwise be present, is replaced by symptom 
development. Similar results are yielded by hysteria. Follow- 
ing the process of suppression we find the development, either 
of anxiety alone or of anxiety and symptom development, or 
finally a more complete symptom development and no anxiety. 
In an abstract sense, then, it would be correct to say that symp- 
toms are formed only to evade development of fear, which 
otherwise could not be escaped. According to this conception, 
fear is seen to occupy the center of the stage in the problems 
of neurosis. 

Our observations on anxiety neuroses led to the conclusion 
that vrhen the libido was diverted from its normal use and 
anxiety thus released, it occurred on the basis of somatic 
processes. The analyses of hysteria and compulsion neuroses 
furnish the correlative observations that similar diversion with 
similar results may also be the consequence of a constraint of 
psychic forces. Such then is our knowledge of the origin of 

350 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

neurotic fear ; it still sounds rather vague. But as yet I know 
no path that would lead us further. The second task we have 
get ourselves is still more difficult to accomplish. It is the estab- 
lishment of a connection between neurotic fear, which is mis- 
used libido, and real fear, which is a reaction to danger. You 
may believe that these things are quite distinct and yet we have 
no criterion for distinguishing the sensations of real and neurotic 

The desired connection is brought about by presupposing the 
antithesis of the ego to libido that is so frequently claimed. "We 
know that the development of fear is the ego's reaction to 
danger, the signal for preparation for flight, and from this we 
are led to believe that in neurotic fear the ego attempts to escape 
the claims of its libido, and treats this inner danger as though 
it came from without. Accordingly our expectation that where 
there is fear there must be something to be afraid of, is fulfilled. 
But the analogy admits of further application. Just as the 
attempt to flee external danger is relieved by standing one's 
ground, and by appropriate steps toward defense, so the develop- 
ment of neurotic fear is arrested as fast as the symptom de- 
velops, for by means of it the fear is held in check. 

Our difficulties in understanding now lie elsewhere. The 
fear, which represents flight of the ego before the libido, is 
supposed to have sprung from the libido itself. That is obscure 
and warns us not to forget that the libido of a person belongs 
fundamentally to him and cannot confront him as an external 
force. The localized dynamics of fear development are still 
unintelligible; we do not know what psychic energies are re- 
leased or from what psychic systems they are derived. I cannot 
promise to solve this problem, but we still have two trails to 
follow which lead us to direct observations and analytic investi- 
gation which can aid our speculations. We turn to the origin 
of fear in the child, and to the source of neurotic fear which 
attaches itself to phobias. 

Fear in children is quite common and it is very hard to tell 
whether it is neurotic or real fear. Indeed, the value of this 
distinction is rendered questionable by the behavior of children. 
On the one hand we are not surprised that the child fears all 
strange persons, new situations and objects, and we explain this 
reaction very easily by his weakness and ignorance. We ascribe 

Fear and Anxiety 351 

to the child a strong disposition to real fear and would consider 
it purposeful if this fear were in fact a heritage. Herein the 
child would only repeat the behavior of prehistoric man and of 
the primitive man of today who, on account of his ignorance 
and helplessness, fears everything that is new, and much that 
is familiar, all of which can no longer inspire us with fear. If 
the phobias of the child were at least partially such as might be 
attributed to that primeval period of human development, this 
would tally entirely with our expectations. 

On the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that not all 
children are equally afraid, and that those very children who 
express particular timidity toward all possible objects and situa- 
tions subsequently prove to be nervous. Thus the neurotic dis< 
position reveals itself by a decided tendency to real fear ; anxiety 
rather than nervousness appears to be primary. We therefore 
arrive at the conclusion that the child (and later the adult) 
fears the power of his libido because he is anxious in the face 
of everything. The derivation of anxiety from the libido is 
hence put aside. Any investigation of the conditions of real fear 
consistently leads to the conclusion that consciousness of one's 
own weakness and helplessness inferiority, in the terminology 
of A. Adler when it is able to persist from childhood to ma- 
turity, is the cause underlying the neuroses. 

This sounds so simple and convincing that it has a claim upon 
our attention. To be sure, it would result in our shifting the 
basis of nervousness. The persistence of the feeling of inferi- 
ority, and its prerequisite condition of anxiety and its subsequent 
development of symptoms, is so firmly established that it is 
rather the exceptional case, when health is the outcome, which 
requires an explanation. What can be learned from careful 
observation of the fear of children ? The little child is primarily 
afraid of strange people ; situations wax important only because 
they involve people, and objects become influential much later. 
But the child does not fear these strange persons because he 
attributes evil intentions to them, because he compares his weak- 
ness with their strength or recognizes them as dangerous to 
his existence, his safety and freedom from pain. Such a child, 
suspicious, afraid of the aggressive impulse which dominates 
the world, would prove a sad theoretic construction. The child 
is afraid of a stranger because he is adjusted to a dear, beloved 

352 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

person, his mother. His disappointment and longing are trans- 
formed into fear, his unemployed libido, which cannot yet be 
held suspended, is diverted by fear. It cannot be termed a 
coincidence that this situation, which is a typical example of 
all childish fear, is a repetition of the first condition of fear 
during birth, viz., separation from the mother. 

The first situation phobias of children are darkness and soli- 
tude ; the former often persists throughout life ; common to both 
is the absence of the dear nurse, the mother. I once heard a 
child, who was afraid of the dark, call into an adjoining room, 
"Auntie, talk to me, I am afraid." "But what good will that 
do you ? You cannot see me ! " Whereupon the child answered, 
"If someone speaks, it is brighter." The yearning felt in dark- 
ness is converted into the fear of darkness. Far from saying 
that neurotic fear is only a secondary, a special case of real 
fear, we observe in little children something that resembles 
the behavior of real fear and has in common with neurotic 
fear, this characteristic feature : origin from unemployed libido. 
The child seems to bring very little real fear into the world. 
In all situations which may later become the conditions of 
phobias, on elevations, narrow bridges across water, on railroad 
and boat trips, the child exhibits no fear. And the more ignorant 
he is, the less fear he feels. It would be most desirable to have 
a greater heritage of such life-preservative instincts; the task 
of supervision, which is to hinder him from exposing himself 
to one danger after another, would be lessened. In reality the 
child at first overestimates his powers and behaves fearlessly 
because he does not recognize dangers. He will run to the 
water's edge, mount the window sill, play with fire or with sharp 
utensils, in short, he will do everything that would harm him and 
alarm his guardians. The awakening of real fear is the result 
of education, since we may not permit him to pass through 
the instructive experience himself. 

If there are children who meet this education to fear half 
way, and who discover dangers of wfiich they have not been 
warned, the explanation suffices that their constitution contains 
a greater measure of libidinous need or that they have been 
spoiled early through libidinous gratification. No wonder that 
those persons who are nervous in later life are recruited from 
the ranks of these children. We know that the creation of 

Fear and Anxiety 353 

neurosis is made easy by the inability to endure a considerable 
amount of pent-up libido for any length of time. You see that 
here too we must do justice to the constitutional factor, whose 
rights we never wish to question. "We fight shy of it only when 
others neglect all other claims for this, and introduce the consti- 
tutional factor where it does not belong according to the com- 
bined results of observation and analysis, or where it must be 
the last consideration. 

Let us extract the sum of our observations on the anxiety 
of children: Infantile fear has very little to do with real fear, 
but is closely related to the neurotic fear of adults. It originates 
in unemployed libido and replaces the object of love that is 
lacking by an external object or situation. 

Now you will be glad to hear that the analysis of phobias can- 
not teach much more that is new. The same thing occurs in 
them as in the fear of children ; unemployed libido is constantly 
being converted into real fear and so a tiny external danger 
takes the place of the demands of the libido. This coincidence is 
not strange, for infantile phobias are not only the prototypes 
but the direct prerequisite and prelude to later phobias, which 
are grouped with the anxiety hysterias. Every hysteria phobia 
can be traced to childish fear of which it is a continuation, even 
if it has another content and must therefore receive a different 
name. The difference between the two conditions lies in their 
mechanism. In the adult the fact that the libido has momentarily 
become useless in the form of longing, is not sufficient to effect 
the transformation of fear into libido. He has long since learned 
to maintain such libido in a suspended state or to use it dif- 
ferently. But when the libido is part of a psychic impulse 
which has experienced suppression, similar conditions to those 
of the child, who cannot distinguish the conscious from the un- 
conscious, are reestablished. The regression to infantile phobia 
is the bridge where the transformation of libido into fear is 
conveniently effected. We have, as you know, spoken a great 
deal about suppression, but we have always followed the fate 
of the conception that was to be suppressed, because this was 
easier to recognize and to present. "We have always omitted 
from our consideration what happened to the emotion that clung 
to the suppressed idea; and only now we learn that whatever 
quality this emotion might have manifested under normal con- 

354 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

ditions, its fate is a transformation into fear. This transforma- 
tion of emotion is by far the more important part of the sup- 
pression process. It is not so easy to discuss, because we cannot 
assert the existence of unconscious emotions in the ^.ame sense 
as unconscious ideas. With one difference, an idea remains the 
same whether it is conscious or unconscious; we can give an 
account of what corresponds to an unconscious idea. But an 
emotion is a release and must be judged differently from an idea. 
Without a deeper reflection and clarification of our hypotheses 
of psychic processes, we cannot tell what corresponds to its 
unconscious stage. We cannot undertake this here. But we want 
to retain the impression we have gained, that the development 
of anxiety is closely connected with the unconscious system. 

I said that the transformation into fear, rather a discharge 
in the form of fear, is the immediate fate of suppressed libido. 
Not the only or final fate, I must add. These neuroses are accom- 
panied by processes that strive to restrain the development of 
fear, and succeed in various ways. In phobias, for instance, two 
phases of the neurotic process can be clearly distinguished. The 
first effects the suppression of libido and its transition to fear, 
which is joined to an external danger. The second consists 
in building up all those precautions and safety devices which are 
to prevent contact with this danger which is dealt with as an 
external fact. Suppression corresponds to the ego's flight from 
the libido, which it regards dangerous. The phobia is comparable 
to a fortification against outer danger, which is represented by 
the much feared libido. The weakness of the phobias' system 
of defense lies in the fact that the fort has been strengthened 
from without and has remained vulnerable within. The pro- 
jection of peril from the libido into the environment is never 
very successful. In other neuroses, therefore, other systems 
of defense are used against the possibility of fear development. 
That is an interesting aspect of the psychology of neurosis. 
Unfortunately its study would lead us to digress too far, and 
presupposes a more thorough and special knowledge of the sub- 
ject. I shall add only one thing more. I have already spoken 
to you of the counter siege by which the ego imprisons the sup- 
pression and which it must maintain permanently for the sup- 
pression to subsist. The task of this counter siege is to carry 

Fear and Anxiety 355 

out diverse forms of defense against the fear development which 
follows the suppression. 

To return to the phobias, I may now say that you realize 
how insufficient it would be to explain only their content, to be 
interested only in knowing that this or that object or situation 
is made the subject of a phobia. The content of the phobia has 
about the same importance for it as the manifest dream facade 
has for the dream. With some necessary restrictions, we admit 
that among the contents of the phobias are some that are es- 
pecially qualified to be objects of fear through phylogenetic in- 
heritance, as Stanley Hall has emphasized. In harmony with 
this is the fact that many of these objects of fear can establish 
connections with danger only by symbolic relations. 

And so we are convinced of the central position that the prob- 
lem of fear assumes in the questions of the neurotic psychology. 
We are deeply impressed with how closely the development of 
fear is interwoven with the fate of the libido and the uncon- 
scious system. There is only one disconnected point, one incon- 
sistency in our hypothesis: the indisputable fact that real fear 
must be considered an expression of the ego's instiacts of self- 



The Libido Theory and Narcism 

REPEATEDLY in the past and more recently we have 
dealt with the distinction between the ego instincts and 
the sexual instincts. At first, suppression taught us 
that the two may be flatly opposed to each other, that 
in the struggle the sexual instincts suffer apparent defeat and are 
forced to obtain satisfaction by other regressive methods, and so 
find the compensation for defeat in their invulnerability. After 
that we learned that at the outset both have a different relation to 
the educator, Nesessity, so that they do not develop in the same 
manner and do not enter into the same relationship with the 
principle of reality. We come to realize that the sexual instincts 
are much more closely allied to the emotional condition of fear 
than the ego instincts. This result appears incomplete only in 
one respect, which, however, is most important. For further 
evidence we shall mention the significant fact that non-satisfac- 
tion of hunger and thirst, the two most elementary instincts 
of self-preservation, never result in their reversal into anxiety, 
while the transformation of unsatisfied libido into fear is, as we 
have heard, one of the best known and most frequently observed 

No one can contest our perfect justification in separating 
the ego from sexual instincts. It is affirmed by the existence of 
sexual desire, which is a very special activity of the individual. 
The only question is, what significance shall we give to this 
distinction, how decisive is it? The answer will depend upon 
the results of our observations ; on how far the sexual instincts, 
in their psychological and somatic manifestations, behave dif- 
ferently from the others that are opposed to them; on how 
important are the consequences which result from these differ- 
ences. We have, of course, no motive whatever for insisting upon 


The Libido Theoiy and Narcism 357 

a certain intangible difference in the character of the two 
groups of instincts. Both are only designations of the sources 
of energy of the individual. The discussion as to whether they 
are fundamentally of the same or of a different character, and 
if the same, when it was that they separated from one another, 
cannot profit by the conceptions, but must deal rather with the 
underlying biological facts. At present we know very little about 
this, and even if we knew more it would not be relevant to our 
analytic task. 

Obviously, we should gain slight profit if, following the ex- 
ample of Jung, we were to emphasize the original unity of all 
instincts, and were to call the energy expressed in all of them 
"libido." Since the sexual function cannot be eliminated from 
psychic life by any device, we are forced to speak of sexual and 
asexual libido. As in the past, we rightly retain the name libido 
for the instincts of sexual life. 

I believe, therefore, that the question, how far the justifiable 
distinction of the instincts of sex and of self-preservation may 
be carried, is of little importance for psychoanalysis ; and psycho- 
analysis is moreover not competent to deal with it. From a 
biological standpoint there are, to be sure, various reasons for 
believing that this distinction is significant. Sexuality is the 
only function of the living organism which extends beyond the 
individual and sees to his kinship with the species. It is un- 
deniable that its practice does not always benefit the individual 
as do his other performances. For the price of ecstatic pleasures 
it involves him in dangers which threaten his life and frequently 
cause death. Probably peculiar metabolic processes, different 
from all others, are required to maintain a part of the individual 
life for its progeny. The individual who places himself in the 
foreground and regards his sexuality as a means to his gratifica- 
tion is, from a biological point of view, only an episode in a 
series of generations, a transient appendage to a germ-plasm 
which is virtually endowed with immortality, just as though he 
were the temporary partner in a corporation which continues 
to persist after his death. 

For psychoanalytic explanation of neuroses, however, there 
is no need to enter upon these far-reaching implications. By 
separate observation of the sexual and the ego instincts, we have 
gained the key to the understanding of transference-neuroses 

358 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

We were able to trace them back to the fundamental situatiou 
where the sexual instinct and the instinct of self-preservatioi . 
had come in conflct with one another, or biologically although 
not so accurately, expressed where the part played by the ego, 
that of independent individuality, was opposed to the other, that 
of a link in a series of generations. Only human beings are 
capable of such conflict, and therefore, taken all in all, neurosis 
is the prerogative of man, and not of animals. The excessive 
development of his libido and the elaboration of a varied and 
complicated psychic life thus made possible, appear to have 
created the conditions prerequisite for conflict. It is clear that 
these conditions are also responsible for the great progress that 
man has made beyond his kinship with animals. The capacity 
for neurosis is really only the reverse side of his talents and 
gifts. But these are only speculations, which divert us from our 

Until now we worked with the impulse that we can distinguish 
the ego and the sexual instincts from one another by their 
manifestations. We could do this without difficulty in the 
transference neuroses. We called the accumulation of energy 
which the ego directed towards the object of its sexual striving 
libido and all others, which proceeded from the instincts of self- 
preservation, interest. We were able to achieve our first insight 
into the workings of psychic forces by observing the accumulation 
of the libido, its transformations and its final destiny. The 
transference neuroses furnished the best material for this. But 
the ego, composed from various organizations, their construction 
and functioning, remained hidden and we were led to believe 
that only the analysis of other neurotic disturbances would raise 
the veil. 

Very soon we began to extend these psychoanalytic conceptions 
to other conditions. As early as 1908, K. Abraham asserted, 
after a discussion with me, that the principal characteristic of 
dementia praecox (which may be considered one of the psy- 
choses) is that there is no libidinous occupation of objects 
(The Psycho-sexual Differences between Hysteria and Demen- 
tia Praecox). But then the question arose, what happens to 
the libido of the demented, which is diverted from its objects? 
Abraham did not hesitate to give the answer, ' ' It is turned back 
upon the ego, and this reflected turning back is the source of the 

The Libido Theory and Narcism 359 

megalomania in dementia praecox." This hallucination of 
greatness is exactly comparable to the well-known over-estimation 
of the objects habitual to lovers. So, for the first time, we gained 
an understanding of psychotic condition by comparing it with 
the normal course of love. 

These first interpretations of Abraham's have been maintained 
In psychoanalysis, and have become the basis of our attitude 
towards the psychoses. Slowly we familiarized ourselves with 
the idea that the libido, which we find attached to certain objects, 
which expresses a striving to attain gratification from these 
objects, may also forsake them and put in their place the per- 
son's own ego. Gradually these ideas were developed more and 
more consistently. The name for this placing of the libido 
narcism was borrowed from one of the perversions described 
by P. Naecke. In it the grown individual lavishes upon his own 
body all the affection usually devoted to some foreign sex object. 

We reflected that if such a fixation of libido on one's own 
body and person instead of on some external object exists, this 
cannot be an exceptional or trivial occurrence. It is much more 
probable that this narcism is the general and original condition, 
out of which the love for an object later develops, without how- 
ever necessarily causing narcism to disappear. From the evolu- 
tionary history of object-libido we remembered that in the bd 
ginning many sex instincts seek auto-erotic gratification, and 
that this capacity for auto-eroticism forms the basis for the 
retardation of sexuality in its education to conformity with fact. 
And so, auto-eroticism was the sexual activity of the narcistic 
stage in the placing of the libido. 

To be brief: "We represented the relation of the ego-libido 
to the object-libido in a way which I can explain by an analogy 
from zoology. Think of the simplest forms of life, which con- 
sist of a little lump of protoplasmic substance which is only 
slightly differentiated. They stretch out protrusions, known as 
pseudopia, into which the protoplasm flows. But they can with- 
draw these protrusions and assume their original shape. Now 
we compare the stretching out of these processes with the radia- 
tion of libido to the objects, while the central mass of libido can 
remain in the ego, and we assume that under normal conditions 
ego-libido can be changed into object-libido, and this can again 
be taken up into the ego, without any trouble. 

360 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

With the help of this representation we can now explain a 
great number of psychic conditions, or to express it more 
modestly, describe them, in the language of the libido theory; 
conditions that we must accredit to normal life, such as the 
psychic attitude during love, during organic sickness, during 
eleep. We assumed that the conditions of sleep rest upon with- 
drawal from the outer world and concentration upon the wish 
to sleep. The nocturnal psychic activity expressed in the dream 
we found in the service of a wish to sleep and, moreover, gov- 
erned by wholly egoistic motives. Continuing in the sense of 
libido theory: sleep is a condition in which all occupations of 
objects, the libidinous as well as the egoistic, are given up, and 
ere withdrawn into the ego. Does this not throw a new light 
upon recovery during sleep, and upon the nature of exhaustion 
in general ? The picture of blissful isolation in the intra-uterine 
life, which the sleeper conjures up night after night, thus also 
completes the picture from the psychic side. In the sleeper the 
original condition of libido division is again restored, a con- 
dition of complete narcism in which libido and ego-interest 
are still united and live indistinguishably in the self-sufficient 

We must observe two things : First, how can the conceptions 
of narcism and egoism be distinguished? I believe narcism is 
the libidinous complement of egoism. When we speak of egoism 
we mean only the benefits to the individual; if we speak of 
narcism we also take into account his libidinous satisfaction. As 
practical motives the two can be followed up separately to a 
considerable degree. One can be absolutely egoistic, and still 
have strong libidinous occupation of objects, in so far as the 
libidinous gratification by way of the object serves the needs of 
the ego. Egoism will then take care that the striving for the 
object results in no harm to the ego. One can be egoistic and 
at the same time excessively narcistic, i.e., have very slight need 
of an object. This need may be for direct sexual satisfaction or 
even for those higher desires, derived from need, which we are 
in the habit of calling love as opposed to sensuality. In 
all of these aspects, egoism is the self-evident, the constant, and 
narcism the variable element. The antithesis of egoism, altruism, 
is not the same as the conception of libidinous occupation of 
objects. Altruism differs from it by the absence of desire for 

The Libido Theory and Narcism 361 

sexual satisfaction. But in the state of being completely in love, 
altruism and libidinous occupation with an object clash. The 
sex object as a rule draws upon itself a part of the narcism of 
the ego. This is generally called "sexual over-estimation" of the 
object. If the altruistic transformation from egoism to the 
sex object is added, the sex object becomes all powerful ; it has 
virtually sucked up the ego. 

I think you will find it a pleasant change if after the dry 
phantasy of science I present to you a poetic representation of 
the economic contrast between narcism and being in love. I 
take it from the Westostliche Divans of Goethe: 


Conqueror and serf and nation ; 

They proclaim it joyously; 
Mankind's loftiest elation, 

Shines in personality. 
Life 's enchantment lures and lingers, 

Of yourself is not afar, 
All may slip through passive fingers, 

If you tarry as you are. 


Never could I be thus ravished, 

Other thoughts are in my mind, 
All the gladness earth has lavished 

In Suleika's charms I find. 
When I cherish her, then only 

Dearer to myself I grow, 
If she turned to leave me lonely 

I should lose the self I know. 
Hatem's happiness were over, 

But his changeling soul would glide 
Into any favored lover 

Whom she fondles at her side. 

The second observation is supplementary to the dream theory. 
We cannot explain the origin of the dream unless we assume 
that the suppressed unconscious has achieved a certain inde- 
pendence of the ego. It does not conform to the wish for sleep 
and retains its hold on the energies that have seized it, even when 
all the occupations with objects dependent upon the ego have 
been released for the benefit of sleep. Not until then can we 

362 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

understand how this unconscious can take advantage of the noc- 
turnal discontinuance or deposition of the censor, and can seize 
control of fragments left over from the day to fashion a forbid- 
den dream wish from them. On the other hand, it is to the 
already existing connections with these supposed elements that 
these fragments owe a part of the resistance directed against 
the withdrawal of the libido, and controlled by the wish for 
Bleep. We also wish to supplement our conception of dream 
formation with this trait of dynamic importance. 

Organic diseases, painful irritations, inflammation of the or- 
gans create a condition which clearly results in freeing the libido 
of its objects. The withdrawn libido again finds itself in the 
ego and occupies the diseased part of the part. "We may even 
venture to assert that under these conditions the withdrawal 
of the libido from its objects is more conspicuous than the with- 
drawal of egoistic interest from the outside world. This seems 
to open the way to an understanding of hypochondria, where 
an organ occupies the ego in a similar way without being dis- 
eased, according to our conception. I shall resist the temptation 
of continuing along this line, or of discussing other situations 
which we can understand or represent through the assumption 
that the object libido travels to the ego. For I am eager to meet 
two objections, which I know are absorbing your attention. In 
the first place, you want to call me to account for my insistence 
upon distinguishing in sleep, in sickness and in similar situations 
between libido and interest, sexual instincts and ego instincts, 
since throughout the observations can be explained by assuming 
a single and uniform energy, which, freely mobile, occupies now 
the object, now the ego, and enters into the services of one or 
the other of these impulses. And, secondly, how can I venture 
to treat the freeing of libido from its object as the source of a 
pathological condition, since such transformation of object- 
libido into ego-libido or more generally, ego-energy belongs 
to the normal, daily and nightly repeated occurrences of psychic 
dynamics ? 

The answer is: Your first objection sounds good. The dis- 
cussion of the conditions of sleep, of sickness and of being in love 
would in themselves probably never have led to a distinction 
between ego-libido and object-libido, or between libido and in- 
terest. But you do not take into account the investigations from 

The Libido Theory and Narcism 363 

which we have set out, in the light of which we now regard the 
psychic situations under discussion. The necessity of dis- 
tinguishing between libido and interest, that is, between sexual 
instincts and those of self-preservation, is forced upon us by our 
insight into the conflict out of which the transference neuroses 
emerge. We can no longer reckon without it. The assumption 
that object-libido can change into the ego-libido, in other words, 
that we must reckon with an ego-libido, appeared to us the only 
possible one wherewith to solve the riddle of the so-called nar- 
cistic neuroses for instance, dementia praecox or to justify 
the similarities and differences in a comparison of hysteria and 
compulsion. We now apply to sickness, sleep and love that 
which we found undeniably affirmed elsewhere. We may pro- 
ceed with such applications as far as they will go. The only 
assertion that is not a direct refutation of our analytic experi- 
ence is that libido remains libido whether it is directed towards 
objects or toward the ego itself, and is never transferred into 
egoistic interest, and vice-versa. But this assertion is of equal 
weight with the distinction of sex and ego instincts which we 
have already critically appraised, and which we will maintain 
from methodological motives until it may possibly be dis- 

Your second objection, too, raises a justified question, but it 
points in a wrong direction. To be sure the retreat of object- 
libido into the ego is not purely pathogenic ; we see that it occurs 
each time before going to sleep, only to be released again upon 
awaking. The little protoplasmic animal draws in its protru- 
sions, only to send them out again on a later occasion. But it is 
quite another matter when a specific, very energetic process com- 
pels the withdrawal of libido from the object. The libido has 
become narcistic and cannot find its way back to the object, and 
this hindrance to the mobility of the libido certainly becomes 
pathogenic. It appears that an accumulation of narcistic libido 
cannot be borne beyond a certain point. We can imagine that 
the reason for occupation with the object is that the ego found 
it necessary to send out its libido in order not to become diseased 
because it was pent up. If it were our plan to go further into 
the subject of dementia praecox, I would show you that this 
process which frees the libido from the objects and bars the 
way back to them, is closely related to the process of suDDres- 

364 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

sion, and must be considered as its counterpart. But above ail 
you would recognize familiar ground, for the conditions of these 
processes are practically identical, as far as we can now see, 
with those of suppression. The conflict appears to be the same, 
and to take place between the same forces. The reason for a 
result as different as, for instance, the result in hysteria, can be 
found only in a difference of dispositions. The vulnerable point 
in the libido development of these patients lies in another phase ; 
the controlling fixation, which, as you will remember, permits 
the breach resulting in the formation of symptoms, is in another 
place probably in the stage of primitive narcism, to which de- 
mentia praecox returns in its final stage. It is noteworthy that 
for all the narcistic neuroses, we must assume fixation points 
of the libido which reach back into far earlier phases of develop- 
ment than in cases of hysteria or compulsion neuroses. But you 
have heard that the conceptions obtained in our study of trans- 
ference neuroses are sufficient to orient us in the narcistic 
neuroses, which present far greater practical difficulties. The 
similarities are considerable; it is fundamentally the same field 
of observation. But you can easily imagine how hopeless the 
explanations of these conditions, which belong to psychiatry, 
appear to him who is not equipped for this task with an analytic 
knowledge of transference neuroses. 

The picture given by the symptoms of dementia praecox, 
which, moreover, is highly variable, is not exclusively determined 
by the symptoms. These result from forcing the libido away 
from the objects and accumulating it in the ego in the form 
of narcistic libido. A large space is occupied by other phe- 
nomena, which result from the impulses of the libido to regain 
the objects, and so show an attempt toward restitution and 
healing. These symptoms are in fact the more conspicuous, the 
more clamorous ; they show an unquestionable similarity to those 
of hysteria, or less often to those of compulsion neurosis, and 
yet they are different in every respect. It appears that in de- 
mentia praecox the libido in its endeavor to return to the 
objects, i.e., to the images of the objects, really captures some- 
thing, but only their shadows I mean, the veibal images belong- 
ing to them. This is not the place to discuss this matter, but 
I believe that these reversed impulses of the libido have per- 

The Libido Theory and Narcism 365 

mitted us an insight into what really determines the difference 
between a conscious and an unconscious representation. 

I have now brought you into the field where we may expect 
the further progress of analytic work. Since we can now employ 
the conception of ego-libido, the narcistic neuroses have become 
accessible to us. We are confronted with the problem of finding 
a dynamic explanation of these conditions and at the same time 
of enlarging our knowledge of psychic life by an understanding 
of the ego. The ego psychology, which we strive to understand, 
must not be founded upon introspective data, but rather, as in 
the libido, upon analysis of the disturbances and decompositions 
of the ego. When this greater task is accomplished we shall 
probably disparage our previous knowledge of the fate of the 
libido which we gained from our study of the transference 
neuroses. But there is still much to be said in this matter. 
Narcistic neuroses can scarcely be approached by the same 
technique which served us in the transference neuroses. Soon 
you will hear why. After forging ahead a little in the study of 
narcistic neuroses we always seem to come to a wall which im- 
pedes progress. You know that in the transference neuroses we 
also encountered such barriers of resistance, but we were able 
to break them down piece by piece. In narcistic neuroses the 
resistance is insuperable; at best we are permitted to cast a 
curious glance over the wall to spy out what is taking place on 
the other side. Our technical methods must be replaced by 
others ; we do not yet know whether or not we shall be able to 
find such a substitute. To be sure, even these patients furnish 
us with ample material. They do say many things, though not 
in answer to our questions, and for the time being we are forced 
to interpret these utterances through the understanding we have 
gained from the symptoms of transference neuroses. The coin r 
cidence is sufficiently great to assure us a good beginning. How 
far this technique will go, remains to be seen. 

There are additional difficulties that impede our progress. 
The narcistic conditions and the psychoses related to them can 
only be solved by observers who have schooled themselves in 
analytic study of transference neuroses. But our psychiatrists 
do not study psychoanalysis and we psychoanalysts see too 
few psychiatric cases. A race of psychiatrists that has gone 
through the school of psychoanalysis as a preparatory science 

366 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

must first grow up. The beginnings of this are now being made 
in America, where many leading psychiatrists explain the teach- 
ings of psychoanalysis to their students, and where many owners 
of sanatoriums and directors of institutes for the insane take 
pains to observe their patients in the light of these teachings. 
But even here we have occasionally been successful in casting 
a glance over the narcistic wall and I shall tell you a few things 
that we think we have discovered. 

The disease of paranoia, chronic systematic insanity, is given 
a very uncertain position by the attempts at classification of 
present-day psychiatry. There is no doubt of its close relation- 
ship to dementia praecox. I once was so bold as to propose that 
paranoia and dementia praecox could be classed together under 
the common name of paraphrenia. The types of paranoia are 
described according to their content as : megalomania, the mania 
of persecution, eroto mania, mania of jealousy, etc. From 
psychiatry we do not expect attempts at explanation. As an 
example of such an attempt, to be sure an antiquated and not 
entirely valid example, I might mention the attempt to develop 
one symptom directly out of another by means of an intellectual 
rationalization, as : the patient who primarily believes he is being 
persecuted draws the conclusion from this persecution that he 
must be an extraordinarily important personality and thus 
develops megalomania. In our analytical conception megalo- 
mania is the immediate outcome of exaggeration of the ego, which 
results from the drawing-in of libidinous occupation with objects, 
a secondary narcism as a recurrence of the originally early 
infantile form. In cases of the mania of persecution we have 
noticed a few things that lead us to follow a definite track. In 
the first place, we observed that in the great majority of cases 
the persecutor was of the same sex as the persecuted. This could 
still be explained in a harmless way, but in a few carefully 
studied cases it was clearly shown that the person of the same 
sex, who was most loved in normal times, became the persecutor 
after the malady set in. A further development is made possible 
by the fact that one loved person is replaced by another, accord- 
ing to familiar affinities, e.g., the father by the teacher or the 
superior. We concluded from such ever-increasing experiences, 
that paranoia persecutoria is the form in which the individual 
guards himself against a homosexual tendency that has become 

The Libido Theory and Narcism 367 

too powerful. The change from affection to hate, which notori- 
ously may take the form of serious threats against the life of the 
loved and hated person, expresses the transformation of libidin- 
ous impulse into fear, which is a regularly recurring result of 
the process of suppression. As an illustration I shall cite the 
last case in which I made observations on this subject. A young 
physician had to be sent away from his home town because he 
had threatened the life of the son of a university professor, who 
up to that time had been his best friend. He ascribed truly 
devilish intentions to his erstwhile friend and credited him with 
power of a demon. He was to blame for all the misfortunes 
that had in recent years befallen the family of the patient, for 
all his personal and social ill-luck. But this was not enough. 
The wicked friend, and his father the professor, had been the 
cause of the war and had called the Russians into the land. He 
had forfeited his life a thousand times and our patient was con- 
vinced that with the death of the culprit all misfortune would 
come to an end. And yet his old affection for his friend was 
so great that it had paralyzed his hand when he had had the 
opportunity of shooting down the enemy at close quarters. In 
my short consultations with the patient, I discovered that the 
friendship between the two dated back to early school-life. Once 
at least the bonds of friendship had been over-stepped ; a night 
spent together had been the occasion for complete sexual inter- 
course. Our patient never felt attracted to women, as would 
have been natural to his age or his charming personality. At 
one time he was engaged to a beautiful and distinguished young 
girl, but she broke off the engagement because she found so little 
affection in her fiance. Years later his malady broke out just 
at that moment when for the first time he had succeeded in giving 
complete gratification to a woman. When this woman embraced 
him, full of gratitude and devotion, he suddenly felt a strange 
pain which cut around his skull like a sharp incision. His later 
interpretation of this sensation was that an incision such as 
is used to expose a part of the brain had been performed upon 
him, and since his friend had become a pathological anatomist, 
he gradually came to the conclusion that he alone could have 
sent him this last woman as a temptation. From that time on his 
eyes were also opened to the other persecutions in which he was 
to be the victim of the intrigues of his former friend. 

368 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

But how about those cases where the persecutor is not of the 
same sex as the persecuted, where our explanation of a guard 
against homosexual libido is apparently contradicted? A short 
time ago I had occasion to investigate such a case and was able 
to glean corroboration from this apparent contradiction. A 
young girl thought she was followed by a man, with whom she 
had twice had intimate relations. She had, as a matter of fact, 
first laid these maniacal imputations at the door of a woman, 
whom we may consider as having played the part of a mother- 
substitute in her psychic life. Only after the second meeting 
did she progress to the point of diverting this maniacal idea 
from the woman and of transferring it to the man. The condi- 
tion that the persecutor must be of the same sex was also origin- 
ally maintained in this instance. In her claim before the lawyer 
and the physician, this patient did not mention this first stage 
of her mania, and this caused the appearance of a contradiction 
to our theory of paranoia. 

Homosexual choice of object is originally more natural to 
narcism than the heterosexual. If it is a matter of thwarting 
a strong and undesirable homosexual impulse, the way back 
to narcism is made especially easy. Until now I have had very 
little opportunity of speaking to you about the fundamental 
conditions of love-life, so far as we know them, and now I cannot 
make up for lost time. I only want to point out that the choice 
of an object, that progress in the development of the libido 
which comes after the narcistic stage, can proceed according 
to two different types either according to the narcistic type, 
which puts a very similar personality in the place of the personal 
ego, or according to the dependent type, which chooses those 
persons who have become valuable by satisfying needs of life 
other than as objects of the libido. We also accredit a strong 
fixation of the libido to the narcistic type of object-choice when 
there is a disposition toward manifest homosexuality. 

You will recall that in our first meeting of this semester I 
told you about the case of a woman who suffered from the mania 
of jealousy. Since we are so near the end you certainly will 
be glad to hear the psychoanalytic explanation of a maniacal 
idea. But I have less to say about it than you expect. The 
maniacal idea as well as the compulsion idea cannot be assailed 
by logical arguments or actual experience. This is explained by 

The Libido Theory and Narcism 369 

their relation to the unconscious, which is represented by the 
maniacal idea or the compulsion idea, and held down by which- 
ever is effective. The difference between the two is based upon 
respective localization and dynamic relations of the two con- 

As in paranoia, so also in melancholia, of which, moreover, 
very different clinical forms are described. We have discovered 
a point of vantage which will yield us an insight into the inner 
structure of the condition. We realize that the self -accusations 
with which these melancholic patients torture themselves in the 
most pitiless way, really apply to another person, namely, the 
sex object which they have lost, or which through some fault 
has lost value for them. From this we may conclude that the 
melancholic has withdrawn his libido from the object. Through 
a process which we designate as "narcistic identification" the 
object is built up within the ego itself, is, so to say, projected 
upon the ego. Here I can give you only a descriptive repre- 
sentation, as yet without reference to the topical and dynamic 
relations. The personal ego is now treated in the same manner 
as the abandoned object, and suffers all the aggression and ex- 
pressions of revenge which were planned for the object. Even 
the suicidal tendencies of melancholia are more comprehensible 
when we consider that this bitterness of the patient falls alike 
on the ego itself and on the object of its love and hate. In melan- 
cholia as well as in other narcistic conditions a feature of 
emotional life is strikingly shown which, since the time of 
Bleuler, we have been accustomed to designate as ambivalence. 
By this we mean that hostile and affectionate feelings are di- 
rected against one and the same person. I have, in the course 
of these discussions, unfortunately not been in a position to tell 
you more about this emotional ambivalence. 

We have, in addition to narcistic identification, an hysterical 
identification as well, which moreover has been known to us for a 
much longer time. I wish it were possible to determine clearly 
the difference between the two. Of the periodic and cyclic forms 
of melancholia I can tell you something that you will certainly 
be glad to hear, for it is possible, under favorable circum- 
stances I have twice had the experience to prevent these 
emotional conditions (or their antitheses) by means of analytic 
treatment in the free intervals between the attacks. We learn 

370 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

that in melancholia as well as in mania, it is a matter of finding 
a special way for solving the conflict, the prerequisites for which 
entirely coincide with those of other neuroses. You can imagine 
how much there still is for psychoanalysis to learn in this field. 

I told you, too, that we hoped to gain a knowledge of the struc- 
ture of the ego, and of the separate factors out of which it is 
built by means of the analysis of narcistic conditions. In one 
place we have already made a beginning. From the analysis 
of the maniacal delusion of being watched we concluded that in 
the ego there is really an agent which continually watches, 
criticizes and compares the other part of the ego and thus 
opposes it. We believe that the patient imparts to us a truth 
that is not yet sufficiently appreciated, when he complains that 
all his actions are spied upon and watched, all his thoughts 
recorded and criticized. He errs only in transferring this dis- 
tressing force to something alien, outside of himself. He feels 
the dominance of a factor in his ego, which compares his actual 
ego and all of its activities to an ideal ego that he has created 
in the course of his development. We also believe that the 
creation of this ideal ego took place with the purpose of again 
establishing that self-satisfaction which is bound up with the 
original infantile narcism, but which since then has experienced 
so many disturbances and disparagements. In this self -observing 
agent we recognize the ego-censor, the conscience ; it is the same 
factor which at night exercises dream-censorship, and which 
creates the suppressions against inadmissible wish-impulses. 
Under analysis in the maniacal delusion of being watched it 
reveals its origin in the influence of parents, tutors and social 
environment and in the identification of the ego with certain 
of these model individuals. 

These are some of the conclusions which the application of 
psychoanalysis to narcistic conditions has yielded us. They are 
certainly all too few, and they often lack that accuracy which 
can only be acquired in a new field with the attainment of abso- 
lute familiarity. We owe them all to the exploitation of the con- 
ception of ego-libido or narcistic libido, by the aid of which we 
have extended to narcistic neuroses those observations which were 
confirmed in the transference neuroses. But now you will ask, 
is it possible for us to succeed in subordinating all the dis- 
turbances of narcistic conditions and the psychoses to the libido 

The Libido Theory and Narcism 371 

theory in such a way that in every case we recognize the libidin- 
ous factor of psychic life as the cause of the malady, and never 
make an abnormality in the functioning of the instincts of self- 
preservation answerable ? Ladies and gentlemen, this conclusion 
does not seem urgent to me, and above all not ripe for decision. 
We can best leave it calmly to the progress of the science. I 
should not be surprised to find that the power to exert a patho- 
genic influence is really an exclusive prerogative of the libidinous 
impulses, and that the libido theory will celebrate its triumphs 
along the whole line from the simplest true neurosis to the most 
difficult psychotic derangement of the individual. For we know 
it to be a characteristic of the libido that it is continually strug- 
gling against subordinating itself to the realities of the world. 
But I consider it most probable that the ego instincts are 
indirectly swept along by the pathogenic excitations of the libido 
and forced into a functional disturbance. Moreover, I cannot 
see any defeat for our trend of investigation when we are con- 
fronted with the admission that in difficult psychoses the ego 
impulses themselves are fundamentally led astray; the future 
will teach us or at least it will teach you. Let me return for 
one moment more to fear, in order to eliminate one last am- 
biguity that we have left. We have said that the relation be- 
tween fear and the libido, which, in other respects seems clearly 
denned, does not fit in with the assumption that in the face of 
danger real fear should become the expression of the instinct of 
self-preservation. This, however, can hardly be doubted. But 
suppose the emotion of fear is not contested by the egoistic ego 
impulse, but rather by the ego-libido ? The condition of fear is 
in all cases purposeless and its lack of purpose is obvious when 
it reaches a higher level. It then disturbs the action, be it flight 
or defense, which alone is purposeful, and which serves the ends 
of self-preservation. If we accredit the emotional component 
of actual fear to the ego-libido, and the accompanying activity 
to the egoistic instinct to self-preservation, we have overcome 
every theoretical difficulty. Furthermore, you do not really be- 
lieve that we flee "because we experience fear ? On the contrary, 
we first are afraid and then take to flight from the same motive 
that is awakened by the realization of danger. Men who have 
survived the endangering of their lives tell us that they were 
not at all afraid, they only acted. They turned the weapon 
against the wild animal, and that was in fact the most purposeful 
thinfif to do. 




WE ARE nearing the close of our discussions, and 
you probably cherish certain expectations, which 
shall not be disappointed. You think, I suppose, 
that I have not guided you through thick and thin 
of psychoanalytic subject matter to dismiss you without a word 
about therapy, which furnishes the only possibility of carrying 
on psychoanalysis. I cannot possibly omit this subject, for the 
observation of some of its aspects will teach you a new fact, 
without which the understanding of the diseases we have exam- 
ined would be most incomplete. 

I know that you do not expect any guidance in the technique 
of practising analysis for therapeutic purposes. You wish to 
know only along what general lines psychoanalytic therapy works 
and approximately what it accomplishes. And you have an 
undeniable right to know this. I shall not actually tell you, 
however, but shall insist that you guess it yourselves. 

Only think! You know everything essential, from the con- 
ditions which precipitate the illness to all the factors at work 
within. Where is there room for therapeutic influence ? In the 
first place, there is hereditary disposition; we do not speak of 
it often because it is strongly emphasized from another quarter, 
and we have nothing new to say about it. But do not think that 
we underestimate it. Just because we are therapeutists, we feel 
its power distinctly. At any rate, we cannot change it; it is a 
given fact which erects a barrier to our efforts. In the second 
place, there is the influence of the early experiences of childhood, 
which are in the habit of becoming sharply emphasized under 
analysis; they belong to the past and we cannot undo them. 
And then everything that we include in the term "actual for- 
bearance " misfortunes of life out of which privations of love 


Transference 373 

arise, poverty, family discord, unfortunate choice in marriage, 
unfavorable social conditions and the severity of moral claims. 
These would certainly offer a foothold for very effectual therapy. 
But it would have to be the kind of therapy which, according 
to the Viennese folk-tale, Emperor Joseph practiced: the bene- 
ficial interference of a potentate, before whose will men bow 
and difficulties vanish. But who are we, to include such charity 
in the methods of our therapy? Poor as we are, powerless in 
society, forced to earn our living by practicing medicine, we are 
not even in a position to treat free of charge those patients who 
are unable to pay, as physicians who employ other methods of 
treatment can do. Our therapy is too long drawn-out, too ex- 
tended for that. But perhaps you are still holding to one of the 
factors already mentioned, and think that you have found a 
factor through which our influence may be effective. If the 
restrictions of morality which are imposed by society have a 
share in the privation forced upon the patient, treatment might 
give him the courage, or possibly even the prescription itself, 
to cross these barriers, might tell him how gratification and 
health can be secured in the renunciation of that ideal which 
society has held up to us but often disregards. One grows 
healthy then, by giving one's sexuality full reign. Such analytic 
treatment, however, would be darkened by a shadow ; it does not 
serve our recognized morality. The gain to the individual is a 
loss to society. 

But, ladies and gentlemen, who has misinformed you to this 
degree? It is inconceivable that the advice to give one's sexu- 
ality full reign can play a part in analytic therapy, if only 
from the circumstance we have ourselves described, that there 
is going on within the patient a bitter conflict between libidinous 
impulse and sexual suppression, between sensual and ascetic 
tendencies. This conflict is not abolished by giving one of these 
tendencies the victory over its opponent. We see that in the 
case of the nervous, asceticism has retained the upper hand. 
The consequence of this is that the suppressed sexual desire gains 
breathing space by the development of symptoms. If, on the 
other hand, we were to give the victory to sexuality, symptoms 
would have to replace the sexual suppression, which has been 
pushed aside. Neither of the two decisions can end the inner 
conflict, one part always remains unsatisfied. There are only a 

374 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

few cases wherein the conflict is so labile, that a factor such as 
the intervention of the physician could be decisive, and these 
cases really require no analytic treatment. Persons who can be 
so much influenced by a physician would have found some solu- 
tion without him. You know that when an abstinent young man 
decides upon illegitimate sex-intercourse, or when an unsatisfied 
woman seeks compensation from another man, they have gener- 
ally not waited for the permission of a physician, far less of 
an analyst, to do this. 

In studying the situation, one essential point is generally over- 
looked, that the pathogenic conflict of the neurotic must not be 
confused with normal struggles between psychic impulses of 
which all have their root in the same psychological soil. The 
neurotic struggle is a strife of forces, one of which has attained 
the level of the fore-conscious and the conscious, while the other 
has been held back in the unconscious stage. That is why the 
conflict can have no outcome; the struggling parties approach 
each other as little as in the well-known instance of the polar- 
bear and the whale. A real decision can be reached only if both 
meet on the same ground. To accomplish this is, I believe, the 
sole task of therapy. 

Moreover, I assure you that you are misinformed if you as- 
sume that advice and guidance in the affairs of life is an integral 
part of the analytic influence. On the contrary, we reject this 
role of the mentor as far as possible. Above all, we wish to 
attain independent decisions on the part of the patient. With 
this intention in mind, we require him to postpone all vital 
resolutions such as choice of a career, marriage or divorce, until 
the close of the treatment. You must confess that this is not 
what you had imagined. It is only in the case of certain very 
young or entirely helpless persons that we cannot insist upon 
the desired limitation. Here we must combine the function of 
physician and educator ; we are well aware of the responsibility 
and behave with the necessary precaution. 

Judging from the zeal with which I defend myself against 
the accusation that analytic treatment urges the nervous person 
to give his sexuality full reign, you must not gather that we 
influence him for the benefit of conventional morality. We are 
just as far removed from that. We are no reformers, it is true, 
only observers, but we cannot help observing with critical eyes, 

Transference 375 

and we have found it impossible to take the part of conventional 
sex morality, or to estimate highly the way in which society has 
tried to regulate the problems of sexual life in practice. We can 
prove to society mathematically that its code of ethics has 
exacted more sacrifices than is its worth, and that its procedure 
rests neither on veracity nor wisdom. We cannot spare our 
patients the task of listening to this criticism. We accustom 
them to weigh sexual matters, as well as others, without pre- 
judice; and when, after the completion of the cure, they have 
become independent and choose some intermediate course be- 
tween unrestrained sexuality and asceticism, our conscience is 
not burdened by the consequences. We tell ourselves: whoever 
has been succssfully educated in being true to himself is perma- 
nently protected against the danger of immorality, even if his 
moral standard diverges from that of society. Let us, moreover, 
be careful not to overestimate the significance of the problem 
of abstinence with respect to its influence on neuroses. Only the 
minority of pathogenic situations of forbearance, with a subse- 
quent condition of pent-up libido, can be resolved without more 
ado by such sexual intercourse as can be procured with little 

And so you cannot explain the therapeutic influence of psy- 
choanalysis by saying that it simply recommends giving full 
sway to sexuality. You must seek another solution. I think that 
while I was refuting this supposition of yours, one of my re- 
marks put you on the right track. Our usefulness consists in 
replacing the unconscious by the conscious, in translating the 
unconscious into the conscious. You are right; that is exactly 
it. By projecting the unconscious into the conscious, we do away 
with suppressions, we remove conditions of symptom formation 
and transform a pathogenic into a normal conflict which can 
be decided in some way or other. This is the only psychic change 
we produce in our patients ; its extent is the extent of our help- 
fulness. Wherever no suppression and no analogous psychic 
process can be undone, there is no place for our therapy. 

We can express the aim of our efforts by various formulae of 
rendering the unconscious conscious, removing suppressions, fill- 
ing out amnestic gaps it all amounts to the same thing. But 
perhaps this admission does not satisfy you. You imagined that 
when a nervous person became cured something very different 

376 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

happened, that after having been subjected to the laborious 
process of psychoanalysis, he was transformed into a different 
human being. And now I tell you that the entire result is only 
that he has a little less of the unconscious, a little more of the 
conscious within him. Well, you probably underestimate the 
significance of such an inner change. The person cured of 
neurosis has really become another human being. Funda- 
mentally, of course, he has remained the same. That is to say, 
he has only become what he might have been under the most 
favorable conditions. But that is saying a great deal. When 
you learn all that has to be done, the effort required to effect 
apparently so slight a change in psychic life, the significance 
of such a difference in the psychic realm will be credible to you. 

I shall digress for a moment to ask whether you know what 
is meant by a causal therapy? This name is given to the pro- 
cedure which does not take the manifestations of disease for its 
point of departure, but seeks to remove the causes of disease. 
Is our psychoanalytical therapy causal or not? The answer is 
not simple, but perhaps it will give us the opportunity of con- 
vincing ourselves that this point of departure is comparatively 
fruitless. In so far as analytical therapy does not concern 
itself immediately with the removal of symptoms, it may be 
termed causal. Yet in another respect, you might say this 
would hardly follow. For we have followed the causal chain 
back far beyond the suppressions to the instinctive tendencies 
and their relative intensity as given by the constitution of the 
patient, and finally the nature of the digression in the abnormal 
process of its development. Assume for a moment that it were 
possible to influence these functions chemically, to increase or 
to decrease the quantity of the libido that happens to be present, 
to strengthen one impulse at the expense of another. This 
would be causal therapy in its true sense and our analysis 
would have furnished the indispensable preparatory work of 
reconnaissance. You know that there is as yet no possibility 
of so influencing the processes of the libido. Our psychic therapy 
interposes elsewhere, not exactly at those sources of the phe- 
nomena which have been disclosed to us, but sufficiently far be- 
yond the symptoms, at an opening in the structure of the 
disease which has become accessible to us by means of peculiar 

Transference 377 

What must we do in order to replace the unconscious by the 
conscious in our patient? At one time we thought this was 
quite simple, that all we had to do was to reconstruct the un- 
conscious and then tell the patient about it. But we already 
know this was a shortsighted error. Our knowledge of the un- 
conscious has not the same value as his ; if we communicate our 
knowledge to him it will not stand in place of the unconscious 
within him, but will exist beside it, and only a very small change 
will have been effected. "We must rather think of the un- 
conscious as localized, and must seek it in memory at the point 
where it came into existence by means of a suppression. This 
suppression must be removed before the substitution of the con- 
scious for the unconscious can be successfully effected. How 
can such a suppression be removed? Here our task enters a 
second phase. First to find the suppression, then to remove the 
resistance by which this suppression is maintained. 

How can we do away with resistance? In the same way by 
reconstructing it and confronting the patient with it. For re- 
sistance arises from suppression, from the very suppression 
which we are trying to break up, or from an earlier one. It has 
been established by the counter-attack that was instigated to 
suppress the offensive impulse. And so now we do the very 
thing we intended at the outset: interpret, reconstruct, com- 
municate but now we do it in the right place. The counter- 
seizure of the idea or resistance is not part of the unconscious 
but of the ego, which is our fellow-worker. This holds true even 
if resistance is not conscious. We know that the difficulty arises 
from the ambiguity of the word ' ' unconscious, ' ' which may con, 
note either a phenomenon or a system. That seems very diffi- 
cult, but it is only a repetition, isn't it? We were prepared 
for it a long time ago. We expect resistance to be relinquished, 
the counter-siege to collapse, when our interpretation has 
enabled the ego to recognize it. With what impulses are we able 
to work in such a case? In the first place, the patient's desire 
to become well, which has led him to accommodate himself to co- 
operate with us in the task of the cure ; in the second place, the 
help of his intelligence, which is supported by the interpretation 
we offer him. There is no doubt that after we have made clear 
to him what he may expect, the patient's intelligence can identify 
resistances, and find their translation into the suppressions more 

378 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

readily. If I say to you, ' ' Look up into the sky, you can see a 
balloon there," you will find it more readily than if I had just 
asked you to look up to see whether you could discover anything. 
And unless the student who for the first time works with a 
microscope is told by his teacher what he may look for, he will 
not see anything, even if it is present and quite visible. 

And now for the fact! In a large number of forms of 
nervous illness, in hysteria, conditions of anxiety and compulsion 
neuroses, one hypothesis is correct. By finding the suppression, 
revealing resistance, interpreting the thing suppressed, we really 
succeed in solving the problem, in overcoming resistance, in 
removing suppression, in transforming the unconscious into the 
conscious. While doing this we gain the clearest impression of 
the violent struggle that takes place in the patient's soul for 
the subjugation of resistance a normal psychological struggle, 
in one psychic sphere between the motives that wish to maintain 
the counter-siege and those which are willing to give it up. 
The former are the old motives that at one time effected sup- 
pression ; among the latter are those that have recently entered 
the conflict, to decide it, we trust, in the sense we favor. We 
have succeeded in reviving the old conflict of the suppression, 
in reopening the case that had already been decided. The new 
material we contribute consists in the first place of the warning, 
that the former solution of the conflict had led to illness, and 
the promise that another will pave the way to health ; secondly, 
the powerful change of all conditions since the time of that first 
rejection. At that time the ego had been weak, infantile and 
may have had reason to denounce the claims of the libido as 
if they were dangerous. Today it is strong, experienced and is 
supported by the assistance of the physician. And so we may 
expect to guide the revived conflict to a better issue than a sup- 
pression, and in hysteria, fear and compulsion neuroses, as I 
have said before, success justifies our claims. 

There are other forms of illness, however, in which our thera- 
peutic procedure never is successful, even though the causal 
conditions are similar. Though this may be characterized 
topically in a different way, in them there was also an original 
conflict between the ego and libido, which led to supression. 
Here, too, it is possible to discover the occasions when suppres- 
sions occurred in the life of the patient. We employ the same 

Transference 379 

procedure, are prepared to furnish the same promises, give the 
game kind of help. We again present to the patient the con- 
nections we expect him to discover, and we have in our favor 
the same interval in time between the treatment and these sup- 
pressions favoring a solution of the conflict ; yet in spite of these 
conditions, we are not able to overcome the resistance, or to re- 
move the suppression. These patients, suffering from paranoia, 
melancholia, and dementia praecox, remain untouched on the 
whole, and proof against psychoanalytic therapy. What is the 
reason for this? It is not lack of intelligence; we require, of 
course, a certain amount of intellectual ability in our patients; 
but those suffering from paranoia, for instance, who effect such 
subtle combinations of facts, certainly are not in want of it. Nor 
can we say that other motive forces are lacking. Patients suf- 
fering from melancholia, in contrast to those afflicted with 
paranoia, are profoundly conscious of being ill, of suffering 
greatly, but they are not more accessible. Here we are con- 
fronted with a fact we do not understand, which bids us doubt 
if we have really understood all the conditions of success in 
other neuroses. 

In the further consideration of our dealings with hysterical 
and compulsion neurotics we soon meet with a second fact, for 
which we were not at all prepared. After a while we notice that 
these patients behave toward us in a very peculiar way. We 
thought that we had accounted for all the motive forces that 
could come into play, that we had rationalized the relation be- 
tween the patient and ourselves until it could be as readily sur 
veyed as an example in arithmetic, and yet some force begins to 
make itself felt that we had not considered in our calculations. 
This unexpected something is highly variable. I shall first de- 
scribe those of its manifestations which occur frequently and 
are easy to understand. 

We see our patient, who should be occupying himself only 
with finding a way out of his painful conflicts, become especially 
interested in the person of the physician. Everything connected 
with this person is more important to him than his own affairs 
and diverts him from his illness. Dealings with him are very 
pleasant for the time being. He is especially cordial, seeks to 
show his gratitude wherever he can, and manifests refinements 
and merits of character that we hardly had expected to find. 

380 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

The physician forms a very favorable opinon of the patient and 
praises the happy chance that permitted him to render assistance 
to so admirable a personality. If the physician has the oppor- 
tunity of speaking to the relatives of the patient he hears with 
pleasure that this esteem is returned. At home the patient 
never tires of praising the physician, of prizing advantages which 
he constantly discovers. ' ' He adores you, he trusts you blindly, 
everything you say is a revelation to him," the relatives say. 
Here and there one of the chorus observes more keenly and 
remarks, "It is a positive bore to hear him talk, he speaks only 
of you; you are his only subject of conversation." 

Let us hope that the physician is modest enough to ascribe the 
patient's estimation of his personality to the encouragement 
that has been offered him and to the widening of his intellectual 
horizon through the astounding and liberating revelations which 
the cure entails. Under these conditions analysis progresses 
splendidly. The patient understands every suggestion, he con- 
centrates on the problems that the treatment requires him to 
solve, reminiscences and ideas flood his mind. The physician is 
surprised by the certainty and depth of these interpretations and 
notices with satisfaction how willingly the sick man receives the 
new psychological facts which are so hotly contested by the 
healthy persons in the world outside. An objective improvement 
in the condition of the patient, universally admitted, goes hand 
in hand with this harmonious relation of the physician to the 
patient under analysis. 

But we cannot always expect to have fair weather. There 
comes a day when the storm breaks. Difficulties turn up in the 
treatment. The patient asserts that he can think of nothing 
more. "We are under the impression that he is no longer inter- 
ested in the work, that he lightly passes over the injunction that, 
heedless of any critical impulse, he must say everything that 
comes to his mind. He behaves as though he were not under 
treatment, as though he had closed no agreement with the physi- 
cian; he is clearly obsessed by something he does not wish to 
divulge. This is a situation which endangers the success of the 
treatment. We are distinctly confronted with a tremendous 
resistance. What can have happened ? 

Provided we are able once more to clarify the situation, we 
recognize the cause of the disturbance to have been intens- 

Transference 381 

affctionate emotions, which, the patient has transferred to the 
physician. This is certainly not justified either by the behavior 
of the physician or by the relations the treatment has created. 
The way in which this affection is manifested and the goals it 
strives for will depend on the personal affiliations of the two 
parties involved. When we have here a young girl and a man 
who is still young we receive the impression of normal love. 
We find it quite natural that a girl should fall in love with a 
man with whom she is alone a great deal, with whom she dis- 
cusses intimate matters, who appears to her in the advantageous 
light of a beneficent adviser. In this we probably overlook the 
fact that in a neurotic girl we should rather presuppose a 
derangement in her capacity to love. The more the personal 
relations of physician and patient diverge from this hypo- 
thetical case, the more are we puzzled to find the same emotional 
relation over and over again. We can understand that a young 
woman, unhappy in her marriage, develops a serious passion 
for her physician, who is still free; that she is ready to seek 
divorce in order to belong to him, or even does not hesitate to 
enter into a secret love affair, in case the conventional obstacles 
loom too large. Similar things are known to occur outside of 
psychoanalysis. Under these circumstances, however, we are 
surprised to hear women and girls make remarks that reveal 
a certain attitude toward the problems of the cure. They 
always knew that love alone could cure them, and from the very 
beginning of their treatment they anticipated that this relation- 
ship would yield them what life had denied. This hope alone 
has spurred them on to exert themselves during the treatments, 
to overcome all the difficulties in communicating their dis- 
closures. We add on our own account "and to understand so 
easily everything that is generally most difficult to believe." 
But we are amazed by such a confession ; it upsets our calcula- 
tions completely. Can it be that we have omitted the most 
important factor from our hypothesis? 

And really, the more experience we gain, the less we can 
deny this correction, which shames our knowledge. The first 
few times we could still believe that the analytic cure had met 
with an accidental interruption, not inherent to its purpose. 
But when this affectionate relation between physician and patient 
occurs regularly in every new case, under the most unfavorable 

382 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

conditions and even under grotesque circumstances; when it 
occurs in the case of the elderly woman, and is directed toward 
the grey-beard, or to one in whom, according to our judgment, 
no seductive attractions exist, we must abandon the idea of an 
accidental interruption, and realize that we are dealing with a 
phenomenon which is closely interwoven with the nature of the 

The new fact which we recognize unwillingly is termed trans- 
ference. "We mean a transference of emotions to the person of 
the physician, because we do not believe that the situation of 
the cure justifies the genesis of such feelings. We rather surmise 
that this readiness toward emotion originated elsewhere, that 
it was prepared within the patient, and that the opportunity 
given by analytic treatment caused it to be transferred to the 
person of the physician. Transference may occur as a stormy 
demand for love or in a more moderate form; in place of the 
desire to be his mistress, the young girl may wish to be adopted 
as the favored daughter of the old man, the libidinous desire may 
be toned down to a proposal of inseparable but ideal and 
platonic friendship. Some women understand how to sublimate 
the transference, how to modify it until it attains a kind of 
fitness for existence ; others manifest it in its original, crude and 
generally impossible form. But fundamentally it is always the 
same and can never conceal that its origin is derived from the 
same source. 

Before we ask ourselves how we can accommodate this new 
fact, we must first complete its description. What happens in 
the case of male patients? Here we might hope to escape the 
troublesome infusion of sex difference and sex attraction. But 
the answer is pretty much the same as with women patients. 
The same relation to the physician, the same over-estimation of 
his qualities, the same abandon of interest toward his affairs, 
the same jealousy toward all those who are close to him. The 
sublimated forms of transference are more frequent in men, the 
direct sexual demand is rarer to the extent to which manifest 
homosexuality retreats before the methods by which these in- 
stinct components may be utilized. In his male patients more 
often than in his women patients, the physician observes a mani- 
festation of transference which at first sight seems to contradict 

Transference 383 

everything previously described: a hostile or negative trans- 

In the first place, let us realize that the transference occurs 
in the patient at the very outset of the treatment and is, for a 
time, the strongest impetus to work. We do not feel it and 
need not heed it as long as it acts to the advantage of the 
analysis we are working out together. When it turns into re- 
sistance, however, we must pay attention to it. Then we dis- 
cover that two contrasting conditions have changed their relation 
to the treatment. In the first place there is the development of 
an affectionate inclination, clearly revealing the signs of its 
origin in sexual desire which becomes so strong as to awaken 
an inner resistance against it. Secondly, there are the hostile 
instead of the tender impulses. The hostile feelings generally 
appear later than the affectionate impulses or succeed them. 
When they occur simultaneously they exemplify the ambivalence 
of emotions which exists in most of the intimate relations between 
all persons. The hostile feelings connote an emotional attach- 
ment just as do the affectionate impulses, just as defiance signi- 
fies dependence as well as does obedience, although the activities 
they call out are opposed. We cannot doubt but that the hostile 
feelings toward the physician deserve the name of transfer- 
ence, since the situation which the treatment creates certainly 
could not give sufficient cause for their origin. This necessary 
interpretation of negative transference assures us that we have 
not mistaken the positive or affectionate emotions that we have 
similarly named. 

The origin of this transference, the difficulties it causes us, the 
means of overcoming it, the use we finally extract from it these 
matters must be dealt with in the technical instruction of psycho- 
analysis, and can only be touched upon here. It is out of the 
question to yield to those demands of the patient which take root 
from the transference, while it would be unkind to reject them 
brusquely or even indignantly. We overcome transference by 
proving to the patient that his feelings do not originate in the 
present situation, and are not intended for the person of the 
physician, but merely repeat what happened to him at some 
former time. In this way we force him to transform his repeti- 
tion into a recollection. And so transference, which whether it 
be hostile or affectionate, seems in every case to be the greatest 

384 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

menace of the cure, really becomes its most effectual tool, which 
aids in opening the locked compartments of the psychic life. 
But I should like to tell you something which will help you to 
overcome the astonishment you must feel at this unexpected 
phenomenon. We must not forget that this illness of the patient 
Which we have undertaken to analyze is not consummated or, as 
it were, congealed; rather it is something that continues its 
development like a living being. The beginning of the treatment 
does not end this development. When the cure, however, first 
has taken possession of the patient, the productivity of the illness 
in this new phase is concentrated entirely on one aspect: the 
relation of the patient to the physician. And so transference 
may be compared to the cambrium layer between the wood and 
the bark of a tree, from which the formation of new tissues and 
the growth of the trunk proceed at the same time. When the 
transference has once attained this significance the work upon 
the recollections of the patient recedes into the background. At 
that point it is correct to say that we are no longer concerned 
with the patient's former illness, but with a newly created, trans- 
formed neurosis, in place of the former. We followed up this 
new edition of an old condition from the very beginning, we 
saw it originate and grow; hence we understand it especially 
well, because we ourselves are the center of it, its object. All 
the symptoms of the patient have lost their original meaning 
and have adapted themselves to a new meaning, which is deter- 
mined by its relation to transference. Or, only such symptoms 
as are capable of this transformation have persisted. The con- 
trol of this new, artificial neurosis coincides with the removal 
of the illness for which treatment was sought in the first place, 
namely, with the solution of our therapeutic problem. The 
human being who, by means of his relations to the physician, has 
freed himself from the influences of suppressed impulses, be- 
comes and stays free in his individual life, when the influence of 
the physician is subsequently removed. 

Transference has attained extraordinary significance, has be- 
come the centre of the cure, in the conditions of hysteria, anxiety 
and compulsion neuroses. Their conditions therefore are prop- 
erly included under the term transference neuroses. Whoever 
in his analytic experience has come into contact with the exist- 
ence of transference can no longer doubt the character of those 

Transference 385 

suppressed impulses that express themselves in the symptoms of 
these neuroses and requires no stronger proof of their libidinous 
character. We may say that our conviction that the meaning 
of the symptoms is substituted libidinous gratification was finally 
confirmed by this explanation of transference. 

Now we have every reason to correct our former dynamic 
conception of the healing process, and to bring it into harmony 
with our new discernment. If the patient is to fight the normal 
conflict that our analysis has revealed against the suppressions, 
he requires a tremendous impetus to influence the desirable de- 
cision which will lead him back to health. Otherwise he might 
decide for a repetition of the former issue and allow those factors 
which have been admitted to consciousness to slip back again 
into suppression. The deciding vote in this conflict is not given 
by his intellectual penetration which is neither strong nor free 
enough for such an achievement but only by his relation to 
the physician. Inasmuch as his transference carries a positive 
sign, it invests the physician with authority and is converted into 
faith for his communications and conceptions. Without trans- 
ference of this sort, or without a negative transfer, he would not 
even listen to the physician and to his arguments. Faith repeats 
the history of its own origin; it is a derivative of love and at 
first requires no arguments. When they are offered by a be- 
loved person, arguments may later be admitted and subjected 
to critical reflection. Arguments without such support avail 
nothing, and never mean anything in life to most persons. Man 's 
intellect is accessible only in so far as he is capable of libidinous 
occupation with an object, and accordingly we have good ground 
to recognize and to fear the limit of the patient's capacity for 
being influenced by even the best analytical technique, namely, 
the extent of his narcism. 

The capacity for directing libidinous occupation with objects 
towards persons as well must also be accorded to all normal 
persons. The inclination to transference on the part of the 
neurotic we have mentioned, is only an extraordinary heighten- 
ing of this common characteristic. It would be strange indeed if 
a human trait so wide-spread and significant had never been 
noticed and turned to account. But that has been done. Bern- 
heim, with unerring perspicacity, based his theory of hypnotic 
manifestations on the statement that all persons are open to 

386 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

suggestion in some way or other. Suggestibility in his sense is 
nothing more than an inclination to transference, bounded so 
narrowly that there is no room for any negative transfer. But 
Bernheim could never define suggestion or its origin. For him 
it was a fundamental fact, and he could never tell us anything 
regarding its origin. He did not recognize the dependence of 
suggestibility upon sexuality and the activity of the libido. We, 
on the other hand, must realize that we have excluded hypnosis 
from our technique of neurosis only to rediscover suggestion in 
the shape of transference. 

But now I shall pause and let you put in a word. I see that 
an objection is looming so large within you that if it were not 
voiced you would be unable to listen to me. "So at last you 
confess that like the hypnotists, you work with the aid of sug- 
gestion. That is what we have been thinking for a long time. 
But why choose the detour over reminiscences of the past, reveal- 
ing of the unconscious, interpretation and retranslation of dis- 
tortions, the tremendous expenditure of time and money, if the 
only efficacious thing is suggestion ? Why do you not use sugges- 
tion directly against symptoms, as the others do, the honest 
hypnotists? And if, furthermore, you offer the excuse that by 
going your way you have made numerous psychological dis- 
coveries which are not revealed by direct suggestion, who shall 
vouch for their accuracy? Are not they, too, a result of sug- 
gestion, that is to say, of unintentional suggestion? Can you 
not, in this realm also, thrust upon the patient whatever you 
wish and whatever you think is so?" 

Your objections are uncommonly interesting, and must be 
answered. But I cannot do it now for lack of time. Till the 
next time, then. You shall see, I shall be accountable to you. 
Today I shall only end what I have begun. I promised to ex- 
plain, with the aid of the factor of transference, why our thera- 
peutic efforts have not met with success in narcistic neuroses. 

This I can do in a few words and you will see how simply 
the riddle can be solved, how well everything harmonizes. Ob- 
servation shows that persons suffering from narcistic neuroses 
have no capacity for transference, or only insufficient remains 
of it. They reject the physician not with hostility, but with 
indifference. That is why he cannot influence them. His words 
leave them cold, make no impression, and so the mechanism of 

Transference 387 

the healing process, which we are able to set in motion else- 
where, the renewal of the pathogenic conflict and the overcoming 
of the resistance to the suppression, cannot be reproduced in 
them. They remain as they are. Frequently they are known 
to attempt a cure on their own account, and pathological results 
have ensued. We are powerless before them. 

On the basis of our clinical impressions of these patients, we 
asserted that in their case libidinous occupation with objects 
must have been abandoned, and object-libido must have been 
transformed into ego-libido. On the strength of this characteris- 
tic we had separated it from the first group of neurotics (hys- 
teria, anxiety and compulsion neuroses). Their behavior under 
attempts at therapy confirms this supposition. They show no 
neurosis. They, therefore, are inaccessible to our efforts and we 
cannot cure them. 



Analytical Therapy 

YOU know our subject for today. You asked me why 
we do not make use of direct suggestion in psycho- 
analytic therapy, when we admit that our influence 
depends substantially upon transference, i.e., sugges- 
tion, for you have come to doubt whether or not we can answer 
for the objectivity of our psychological discoveries in the face 
of such a predominance of suggestion. I promised to give you 
a comprehensive answer. 

Direct suggestion is suggestion directed against the expression 
of the symptoms, a struggle between your authority and the 
motives of the disease. You pay no attention during this process 
to the motives, but only demand of the patient that he suppress 
their expression in symptoms. So it makes no difference in 
principle whether you hypnotize the patient or not. Bernheim, 
with his usual perspicacity, asserted that suggestion is the essen- 
tial phenomenon underlying hypnotism, that hypnotism itself 
is already a result of suggestion, is a suggested condition. 
Bernheim was especially fond of practising suggestion upon a 
person in the waking state, and could achieve the same results 
as with suggestion under hypnosis. 

What shall I deal with first, the evidence of experience or 
theoretic considerations ? 

Let us begin with our experiences. I was a pupil of Bern- 
heim 's, whom I sought out in Nancy in 1889, and whose book 
on suggestion I translated into German. For years I practised 
hypnotic treatment, at first by means of prohibitory suggestions 
alone, and later by this method in combination with investigation 
of the patient after the manner of Breuer. So I can speak from 
experience about the results of hypnotic or suggestive therapy. 
If we judge Bernheim's method according to the old doctor's 


Analytical Therapy 389 

password that an ideal therapy must be rapid, reliable and not 
unpleasant for the patient, we find it fulfills at least two of these 
requirements. It can be carried out much more rapidly, in- 
describably more rapidly than the analytic method, and it brings 
the patient neither trouble nor discomfort. In the long run 
it becomes monotonous for the physician, since each case is 
exactly the same; continually forbidding the existence of the 
most diverse symptoms under the same ceremonial, without being 
able to grasp anything of their meaning or their significance. 
It is second-rate work, not scientific activity, and reminiscent of 
magic, conjuring and hocus-pocus ; yet in the face of the interest 
of the patient this cannot be considered. The third requisite, 
however, was lacking. The procedure was in no way reliable. 
It might succeed in one case, and fail with the next ; sometimes 
much was accomplished, at other times little, one knew not why. 
"Worse than this capriciousness of the technique was the lack of 
permanency of the results. After a short time, when the patient 
was again heard from, the old malady had reappeared, or it 
had been replaced by a new malady. We could start in again 
to hypnotize. At the same time we had been warned by those 
who were experienced that by frequent repetitions of hypnotism 
we would deprive the patient of his self-reliance and accustom 
him to this therapy as though it were a narcotic. Granted that 
we did occasionally succeed as well as one could wish ; with slight 
trouble we achieved complete and permanent results. But the 
conditions for such a favorable outcome remained unknown. I 
have had it happen that an aggravated condition which I had 
succeeded in clearing up completely by a short hypnotic treat- 
ment returned unchanged when the patient became angry and 
arbitrarily developed ill feeling against me. After a reconcilia- 
tion I was able to remove the malady anew and with even greater 
thoroughness, yet when she became hostile to me a second time 
it returned again. Another time a patient whom I had re- 
peatedly helped through nervous conditions by hypnosis, during 
the treatment of an especially stubborn attack, suddenly threw 
her arms around my neck. This made it necessary to consider 
the question, whether one wanted to or not, of the nature and 
source of the suggestive authority. 

So much for experience. It shows us that in renouncing direct 
suggestion we have given up nothing that is not replaceable. 

390 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

Now let us add a few further considerations. The practice of 
hypnotic therapy demands only a slight amount of work of the 
patient as well as of the physician. This therapy fits in per- 
fectly with the estimation of neuroses to which the majority of 
physicians subscribe. The physician says to the neurotic, 
" There is nothing the matter with you; you are only nervous, 
and so I can blow away all your difficulties with a few words in 
a few minutes." But it is contrary to our dynamic conceptions 
that we should be able to move a great weight by an inconsider- 
able force, by attacking it directly and without the aid of appro- 
priate preparations. So far as conditions are comparable, experi- 
ence shows us that this performance does not succeed with the 
neurotic. But I know this argument is not unassailable; there 
are also "redeeming features." 

In the light of the knowledge we have gained from psycho- 
analysis we can describe the difference between hypnotic and 
psychoanalytic suggestion as follows: Hypnotic therapy seeks 
to hide something in psychic life, and to gloss it over ; analytic 
therapy seeks to lay it bare and to remove it. The first method 
works cosmetically, the other surgically. The first uses sugges- 
tion in order to prevent the appearance of the symptoms, it 
strengthens suppression, but leaves unchanged all other processes 
that have led to symptom development. Analytic therapy attacks 
the illness closer to its sources, namely in the conflicts out of 
which the symptoms have emerged, it makes use of suggestion 
to change the solution of these conflicts. Hypnotic therapy 
leaves the patient inactive and unchanged, and therefore without 
resistance to every new occasion for disease. Analytic treatment 
places upon the physician, as well as upon the patient, a diffi- 
cult responsibility; the inner resistance of the patient must be 
abolished. The psychic life of the patient is permanently 
changed by overcoming these resistances, it is lifted upon a 
higher plane of development and remains protected against new 
possibilities of disease. The work of overcoming resistance is 
the fundamental task of the analytic cure. The patient, how- 
ever, must take it on himself to accomplish this, while the physi- 
cian, with the aid of suggestion, makes it possible for him to do 
80. The suggestion works in the nature of an education. We are 
therefore justified in saying that analytic treatment is a sort of 

Analytical Therapy 391 

I hope I have made it clear to you wherein our technique of 
using suggestion differs therapeutically from the only use pos- 
sible in hypnotic therapy. With your knowledge of the relation 
between suggestion and transference you will readily understand 
the capriciousness of hypnotic therapy which attracted our 
attention, and you will see why, on the other hand, analytic 
suggestion can be relied upon to its limits. In hypnosis we 
depend on the condition of the patient's capacity for transfer- 
ence, yet we are unable to exert any influence on this capacity. 
The transference of the subject may be negative, or, as is most 
frequent, ambivalent; the patient may have protected himself 
against suggestion by very special adjustments, yet we are un- 
able to learn anything concerning them. In psychoanalysis we 
work with the transference itself, we do away with the forces 
opposing it, prepare the instrument with which we are to work. 
So it becomes possible to derive entirely new uses from the power 
of suggestion; we are able to control it, the patient does not 
work himself into any state of mind he pleases, but in so far 
as we are able to influence him at all, we can guide the suggestion. 

Now you will say, regardless of whether we call the driving 
force of our analysis transference or suggestion, there is still 
the danger that through our influence on the patient the objec- 
tive certainty of our discoveries becomes doubtful. That which 
becomes a benefit to therapy works harm to the investigation. 
This objection is most often raised against psychoanalysis, and 
it must be admitted that even if it does not hit the mark, it 
cannot be waved aside as stupid. But if it were justified, psycho- 
analysis would be nothing more than an extraordinarily well 
disguised and especially workable kind of treatment by sugges- 
tion, and we may lay little weight upon all its assertions con- 
cerning the influences of life, psychic dynamics, and the uncon- 
scious. This is in fact the opinion held by our opponents; we 
are supposed especially to have " balked into" the patients 
everything that supports the importance of sexual experiences, 
and often the experiences themselves, after the combinations 
themselves have grown up in our degenerate imaginations. We 
can refute these attacks most easily by calling on the evidence 
of experience rather than by resorting to theory. Anyone who 
has himself performed a psychoanalysis has been able to convince 
himself innumerable times that it is impossible thus to suggest 

392 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

anything to the patient. There is no difficulty, of course, in 
making the patient a disciple of any one theory, and thus causing 
him to share the possible error of the physician. With respect 
to this he behaves just like any other person, like a student, but 
he has influenced only his intelligence, not his disease. The 
solving of his conflicts and the overcoming of his resistances 
succeeds only if we have aroused in him representations of such 
expectations as can agree with reality. What was inapplicable 
in the assumptions of the physician falls away during the course 
of the analysis ; it must be withdrawn and replaced by something 
more nearly correct. By employing a careful technique we seek 
to prevent the occurrence of temporary results arising out of 
suggestion, yet there is no harm if such temporary results 
occur, for we are never satisfied with early successes. We do 
not consider the analysis finished until all the obscurities of the 
case are cleared up, all amnestic gaps filled out and the occasions 
which originally called out the suppressions discovered. We see 
in results that are achieved too quickly a hindrance rather than 
a furtherance of analytic work and repeatedly we undo these 
results again by purposely breaking up the transference upon 
which they rest. Fundamentally it is this feature which dis- 
tinguishes analytical treatment from the purely suggestive tech- 
nique and frees analytic results from the suspicion of having 
been suggested. Under every other suggestive treatment the 
transference itself is most carefully upheld and the influence left 
unquestioned; in analytic treatment, however, the transference 
becomes the subject of treatment and is subject to criticism in 
whatever form it may appear. At the end of an analytic cure 
the transference itself must be abolished; therefore the effect 
of the treatment, whether positive or negative, must be founded 
not upon suggestion but upon the overcoming of inner re- 
sistances, upon the inner change achieved in the patient, which 
the aid of suggestion has made possible. 

Presumably the creation of the separate suggestions is counter- 
acted, in the course of the cure, by our being continually forced 
to attack resistances which have the ability to change themselves 
into negative (hostile) transferences. Furthermore, let me call 
your attention to the fact that a large number of results of analy- 
sis, otherwise perhaps subject to the suspicion that they are 
products of suggestion, can be confirmed from other unquestion- 

Analytical Therapy 393 

able sources. As authoritative witnesses in this case we refer 
to the testimony of dements and paranoiacs, who are, naturally 
far removed from any suspicion of suggestive influence. What- 
ever these patients can tell us about symbolic translations and 
phantasies which have forced their way into their consciousness 
agrees faithfully with the results of our investigations upon the 
unconscious of transference-neurotics, and this gives added 
weight to the objective correctness of our interpretations which 
are so often doubted. I believe you will not go wrong if you give 
your confidence to analysis with reference to these factors. 

We now want to complete our statement concerning the 
mechanism of healing, by including it within the formulae of 
the libido theory. The neurotic is incapable both of enjoyment 
and work; first, because his libido is not directed toward any 
real object, and second because he must use up a great deal 
of his former energy to keep his libido suppressed and to arm 
himself against its attacks. He would become well if there could 
be an end to the conflict between his ego and his libido, and if 
his ego could again have the libido at its disposal. The task of 
iherapy, therefore, consists of freeing the libido from its present 
bonds, which have estranged it from the ego, and furthermore 
to bring it once more into the service of the ego. Where is the 
libido of the neurotics? It is easy to find; it is bound to the 
symptoms which at that time furnish it with the only available 
substitute satisfaction. We have to become master of the symp- 
toms, and abolish them, which is of course exactly what the 
patient asks us to do. To abolish the symptoms it becomes neces- 
sary to go back to their origin, to renew the conflict out of 
which they emerged, but this time with the help of motive forces 
that were originally not available, to guide it toward a new 
solution. This revision of the process of suppression can be 
accomplished only in part by following the traces in memory of 
the occurrences which led to the suppression. The decisive part 
of the cure is accomplished by means of the relationship to the 
physician, the transference, by means of which new editions 
of the old conflict are created. Under this situation the patient 
would like to behave as he had behaved originally, but by sum- 
moning all his available psychic power we compel him to reach 
a different decision. Transference, then, becomes the battlefield 
on which all the contending forces are to meet. 

394 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

The full strength of the libido, as well as the entire resistance 
against it, is concentrated in this relationship to the physician; 
so it is inevitable that the symptoms of the libido should be laid 
bare. In place of his original disturbance the patient manifests 
the artificially constructed disturbance of transference ; in place 
of heterogeneous unreal objects for the libido you now have only 
the person of the physician, a single object, which, however, is 
also fantastic. The new struggle over this object is, however, 
raised to the highest psychic level with the aid of the physician's 
suggestions, and proceeds as a normal psychic conflict. By 
avoiding a new suppression the estrangement between the ego 
and the libido comes to an end, the psychic unity of the person- 
ality is restored. When the libido again becomes detached from 
the temporary object of the physician it cannot return to its 
former objects, but is now at the disposal of the ego. The forces 
we have overcome in the task of therapy are on the one hand 
the aversion of the ego for certain directions of the libido, which 
had expressed itself as a tendency to suppression, and on the 
other hand the tenacity of the libido, which is loathe to leave an 
object which it has once occupied. 

Accordingly the work of therapy falls into two phases: 
first, all the libido is forced from the symptoms into the trans- 
ference, and concentrated there ; secondly, the struggle over this 
new object is carried on and the libido set free. The decisive 
change for the better in this renewed conflict is the throwing 
out of the suppression, so that the libido cannot this time again 
escape the ego by fleeing into the unconscious. This is accom- 
plished by the change in the ego under the influence of the 
physician's suggestion. In the course of the work of interpreta- 
tion, which translates unconscious into conscious, the ego grows 
at the expense of the unconscious; it learns forgiveness toward 
the libido, and becomes inclined to permit some sort of satisfac- 
tion for it. The ego's timidity in the face of the demands of the 
libido is now lessened by the prospect of occupying some of the 
libido through sublimation. The more the processes of the treat- 
ment correspond to this theoretic description the greater will 
be the success of psychoanalytic therapy. It is limited by the 
lack of mobility of the libido, which can stand in the way of 
releasing its objects, and by the obstinate narcism which will 
not permit the object-transference to effect more than just so 

Analytical Therapy 395 

much. Perhaps we shall obtain further light on the dynamics 
of the healing process by the remark that we are able to gather 
up the entire libido which has become withdrawn from the con- 
trol of the ego by drawing a part of it to ourselves in the process 
of transference. 

It is to be remembered that we cannot reach a direct con- 
clusion as to the disposition of the libido during the disease from 
the distributions of the libido which are effected during and 
because of the treatment. Assuming that we have succeeded 
in curing the case by means of the creation and destruction of a 
strong father-transference to the physician, it would be wrong 
to conclude that the patient had previously suffered from a 
similar and unconscious attachment of his libido to his father. 
The father-transference is merely the battlefield upon which we 
were able to overcome the libido; the patient's libido had been 
concentrated here from its other positions. The battlefield need 
not necessarily have coincided with the most important fortresses 
of the enemy. Defense of the hostile capital need not take place 
before its very gates. Not until we have again destroyed the 
transfrence can we begin to reconstruct the distribution of the 
libido that existed during the illness. 

From the standpoint of the libido theory we might say a last 
word in regard to the dream. The dreams of neurotics, as well as 
their errors and haphazard thoughts, help us in finding the 
meaning of the symptoms and in discovering the disposition of 
the libido. In the form of the wish fulfillment they show us 
what wish impulses have been suppressed, and to what objects 
the libido, withdrawn from the ego, has been attached. That 
is why interpretation of dreams plays a large role in psycho- 
analytic treatment, and is in many cases, for a long time, the 
most important means with which we work. We already know 
that the condition of sleep itself carries with it a certain abate- 
ment of suppressions. Because of this lessening of the pressure 
upon it, it becomes possible for the suppressed impulse to create 
in the dream a much clearer expression than the symptom can 
furnish during the day. So dream-study is the easiest approach 
to a knowledge of the libidinous suppressed unconscious which 
has been withdrawn from the ego. 

Dreams of neurotics differ in no essential point from the 
dreams of normal persons; you might even say they cannot be 

396 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

distinguished. It would be unreasonable to explain the dreams 
of the nervous in any way which could not be applied to the 
dreams of the normal. So we must say the difference between 
neurosis and health applies only during the day, and does not 
continue in dream life. "We find it necessary to attribute to the 
healthy numerous assumptions which have grown out of the 
connections between the dreams and the symptoms of the 
neurotic. We are not in a position to deny that even a healthy 
man possesses those factors in his psychic life which alone make 
possible the development of the dream and of the symptom as 
well. We must conclude, therefore, that the healthy have also 
made use of suppressions and are put to a certain amount of 
trouble to keep those impulses under control; the system of 
their unconscious, too, conceals impulses which are suppressed, 
yet are still possessed of energy, and a part of their libido is also 
withdrawn from the control of their ego. So the healthy man 
is virtually a neurotic, but dreams are apparently the only 
symptoms which he can manifest. Yet if we subject our waking 
hours to a more penetrating analysis we discover, of course, that 
they refute this appearance and that this seemingly healthy 
life is shot through with a number of trivial, practically unim- 
portant symptom formations. 

The difference between nervous health and neurosis is entirely 
a practical one which is determined by the available capacity for 
enjoyment and accomplishment retained by the individual. It 
varies presumably with the relative proportion of the energy 
totals which have remained free and those which have been 
bound by suppressions, and is quantitative rather than quali- 
tative. I do not have to remind you that this conception is the 
theoretical basis for the certainty that neuroses can be cured, 
despite their foundation in constitutional disposition. 

This is accordingly what we may make out of the identity 
between the dreams of the healthy and those of the neurotic 
for the definition of health. As regards the dream itself, we must 
note further that we cannot separate it from its relation to 
neurotic symptoms. We must recognize that it is not completely 
defined as a translation of thoughts into an archaic form of 
expression, that is, we must assume it discloses a disposition 
of libido and of object-occupations which have actually taken 

Analytical Therapy 397 

We have about come to the end. Perhaps you are disappointed 
that I have dealt only with theory in this chapter on psycho- 
analytic therapy, and have said nothing concerning the condi- 
tions under which the cure is undertaken, or of the successes 
which it achieves. But I shall omit both. I shall omit the first 
because I had intended no practical training in the practice of 
psychoanalysis, and I shall neglect the second for numerous 
reasons. At the beginning of our talks I emphasized the fact 
that under favorable circumstances we attain results which can 
be favorably compared with the happiest achievements in the 
field of internal therapy, and, I may add, these results could not 
have been otherwise achieved. If I were to say more I might be 
suspected of wishing to drown the voices of disparagement, 
which have become so loud, by advertising our claims. We 
psychoanalysts have repeatedly been threatened by our medical 
colleagues, even in open congresses, that the eyes of the suf- 
fering public must be opened to the worthlessness of this 
method of treatment by a statistical collection of analytic failures 
and injuries. But such a collection, aside from the biased, de- 
nunciatory character of its purpose, would hardly be able to 
give a correct picture of the therapeutic values of analysis. 
Analytic therapy is, as you know, still young; it took a long 
time to establish the technique, and this could be done only 
during the course of the work and under the influence of ac- 
cumulating experience. As a result of the difficulties of instruc- 
tion the physician who begins the practice of psychoanalysis is 
more dependent upon his capacity to develop on his own account 
than is the ordinary specialist, and the results he achieves in 
his first years can never be taken as indicative of the possibilities 
of analytic therapy. 

Many attempts at treatment failed in the early years of 
analysis because they were made on cases that were not at all 
suited to the procedure, and which today we exclude by our 
classification of symptoms. But this classification could be 
made only after practice. In the beginning we did not know that 
paranoia and dementia praecox are, in their fully developed 
phases, inaccessible, and we were justified in trying out our 
method on all kinds of conditions. Besides, the greatest number 
of failures in those first years were not due to the fault of the 
physician or because of unsuitable choice of subjects, but rather 

398 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

to the tmpropitiousness of external conditions. "We have hitherto 
spoken only of internal resistances, those of the patient, which 
are necessary and may be overcome. External resistances to 
psychoanalysis, due to the circumstances of the patient and his 
environment, have little theoretical interest, but are of great 
practical importance. Psychoanalytic treatment may be com- 
pared to a surgical operation, and has the right to be undertaken 
under circumstances favorable to its success. You know what 
precautions the surgeon is accustomed to take: a suitable room, 
good light, assistance, exclusion of relatives, etc. How many 
operations would be successful, do you think, if they had to be 
performed in the presence of all the members of the family, 
who would put their fingers into the field of operation and cry 
aloud at every cut of the knife? The interference of relatives 
in psychoanalytical treatment is a very great danger, a danger 
one does not know how to meet. "We are armed against the 
internal resistances of the patient which we recognize as neces- 
sary, but how are we to protect ourselves against external re- 
sistance ? It is impossible to approach the relatives of the patient 
with any sort of explanation, one cannot influence them to hold 
aloof from the whole affair, and one cannot get into league with 
them because we then run the danger of losing the confidence of 
the patient, who rightly demands that we in whom he confides 
take his part. Besides, those who know the rifts that are often 
formed in family life will not be surprised as analysts when 
they discover that the patient's nearest relatives are less inter 
ested in seeing him cured than in having him remain as he is. 
"Where, as is so often the case, the neurosis is connected with 
conflicts with members of the family, the healthy member does not 
hesitate long in the choice between his own interest and that 
of the cure of the patient. It is not surprising if a husband 
looks with disfavor upon a treatment in which, as he may cor- 
rectly suspect, the register of his sins is unrolled; nor are we 
surprised, and surely we cannot take the blame, when our efforts 
remain fruitless and are prematurely broken off because the 
resistance of the husband is added to that of the sick wife. 
We had only undertaken something which, under the existing 
circumstance, it was impossible to carry out. 

Instead of many cases, I shall tell you of just one in which, 
because of professional precautions, I was destined to play a 

Analytical Therapy 399 

ead role. Many years ago I treated a young girl who for a 
long time was afraid to go on the street, or to remain at home 
alone. The patient hesitatingly admitted that her phantasy had 
been caused by accidentally observing affectionate relations be- 
tween her mother and a well-to-do friend of the family. But 
she was so clumsy or perhaps so sly as to give her mother a 
hint of what had been discussed during the analysis, and changed 
her behavior toward her mother, insisting that no one but her 
mother should protect her against the fear of being alone, and 
anxiously barring the way when her mother wished to leave 
the house. The mother had previously been very nervous herself, 
but had been cured years before in a hydropathic sanatorium. 
Let us say, in that institution she made the acquaintance of the 
man with whom she was to enter upon the relationship which 
was able to satisfy her in every respect. Becoming suspicious 
of the stormy demands of the girl, the mother suddenly realized 
the meaning of her daughter's fear. She must have made herself 
sick to imprison her mother and to rob her of the freedom she 
needed to maintain relations with her lover. Immediately the 
mother made an end to the harmful treatment. The girl was put 
into a sanatorium for the nervous and exhibited for many years 
as ' ' a poor victim of psychoanalysis. ' ' For just as long a period 
I was pursued by evil slander, due to the unfavorable outcome 
of this case. I maintained silence because I thought myself 
bound by the rules of professional discretion. Years later I 
learned from a colleague who had visited the institution and had 
seen the agoraphobic girl there, that the relationship between 
the mother and the wealthy friend of the family was known all 
over town, and apparently connived at by the husband and 
father. It was to this "secret'' that our treatment had been 

In the years before the war, when the influx of patients from 
all parts made me independent of the favor or disfavor of my 
native city, I followed the rule of not treating anyone who was 
not sui juris, was not independent of all other persons in his 
essential relations of life. Every psychoanalyst cannot do this. 
You may conclude from my warning against the relatives of 
patients that for purposes of psychoanalysis we should take 
the patients away from their families, and should limit this 
therapy to the inmates of sanatoriums. I should not agree with 

400 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

you in this; it is much more beneficial for the patients, if they 
are not in a stage of great exhaustion, to continue in the same 
circumstances under which they must master the tasks set for 
them during the treatment. But the relatives ought not to 
counteract this advantage by their behavior, and above all, they 
should not antagonize and oppose the endeavors of the physician. 
But how are we to contend against these influences which are so 
inaccessible to us ! You see how much the prospects of a treat- 
ment are determined by the social surroundings and the cultural 
conditions of a family. 

This offers a sad outlook indeed for the effectiveness of psycho- 
analysis as a therapy, even if we can explain the great majority 
of our failures by putting the blame on such disturbing external 
factors ! Friends of analysis have advised us to counterbalance 
such a collection of failures by means of a statistical compilation 
on our part of our successful cases. Yet I could not try myself 
to do this. I tried to explain that statistics would be worthless 
if the collected cases were not comparable, and in fact, the 
various neuroses which we have undertaken to treat could, as a 
matter of fact, hardly be compared on the same basis, since they 
differed in many fundamental respects. Besides, the period of 
time over which we could report was too short to permit us to 
judge the permanency of our cures, and concerning certain cases 
we could not have given any information whatever. They re- 
lated to persons who had kept their ailments, as well as their 
treatment, secret, and whose cure must necessarily be kept secret 
as well. The strongest hindrance, however, lay in the knowledge 
that men behave most irrationally in matters of therapy, and 
that we have no prospect of attaining anything by an appeal 
to reason. A therapeutic novelty is received either with frenzied 
enthusiasm, as was the case when Koch first made public his 
tuberculin against tuberculosis, or it is treated with abysmal 
distrust, as was the really blessed vaccination of Jenner, which 
even today retains implacable opponents. There was a very 
obvious prejudice against psychoanalysis. "When we had cured 
a very difficult case we would hear it said : ' ' That is no proof, 
he would have become well by himself in all this time." Yet 
when a patient who had already gone through four cycles of 
depression and mania came into my care during a temporary 
cessation in the melancholia, and three weeks later found herself 

Analytical Therapy 401 

in the beginnings of a new attack, all the members of the family 
as well as the high medical authorities called into consultation, 
were convinced that the new attack could only be the result of 
the attempted analysis. Against prejudice we are powerless; 
you see it again in the prejudices that one group of warring 
nations has developed against the other. The most sensible thing 
for us to do is to wait and allow time to wear it away. Some 
day the same persons think quite differently about the same 
things than before. Why they formerly thought otherwise re- 
mains the dark secret. 

It may be possible that the prejudice against psychoanalysis 
is already on the wane. The continual spread of psychoanalytic 
doctrine, the increase of the number of physicians in many lands 
who treat analytically, seems to vouch for it. "When I was a 
young physician I was caught in just such a storm of outraged 
feeling of the medical profession toward hypnosis, treatment 
by suggestion, which today is contrasted with psychoanalysis by 
"sober" men. Hypnotism did not, however, as a therapeutic 
agent, live up to its promises ; we psychoanalysts may call our- 
selves its rightful heirs, and we have not forgotten the large 
amount of encouragement and theoretical explanation we owe 
to it. The injuries blamed upon psychoanalysis are limited 
essentially to temporary aggravation of the conflict when the 
analysis is clumsily handled, or when it is broken off unfinished. 
You have heard our justification for our form of treatment, and 
you can form your own opinion as to whether or not our en- 
deavors are likely to lead to lasting injury. Misuse of psycho- 
analysis is possible in various ways ; above all, transference is a 
dangerous remedy in the hands of an unconscientious physician. 
But no professional method of procedure is protected from mis- 
use ; a knife that is not sharp is of no use in effecting a cure. 

I have thus reached the end, ladies and gentlemen. It is 
more than the customary formal speech when I admit that I 
am myself keenly depressed over the many faults in the lectures I 
have just delivered. First of all, I am sorry that I have so often 
promised to return to a subject only slightly touched upon at 
the time, and then found that the context has not made it pos- 
sible to keep my word. I have undertaken to inform you con- 
cerning an unfinished thing, still in the process of development, 
and my brief exposition itself was an incomplete thing.- Often 

402 Introduction to Psychoanalysis 

I presented the evidence and then did not myself draw the 
conclusion. But I could not endeavor to make you masters of 
the subject. I tried only to give you some explanation and 



Abel, C., 195 

Abel, R., 148 

Abraham, K., 284, 358 

Abstinence, 299 

Accidental and symptomatic acts, 42 

Accumulated and combined errors, 

Adler, A., 203, 330, 351 

Agoraphobia, 227, 233 

Alexander, dream of, 65 

Altruism, 360 

Ambivalence, 369 

Amnesia, 244; childhood, 168; hys- 
terical, 245; infantile, 245; of the 
neurotic, 244 

Analyses of dreams, 94, 95, 96, 97, 
98, 153 

Analysis, experimental, dream for. 

Analytical therapy, 372, 388 

Andreas, Lou, 272 

Anxiety, 340, 342; dream, 183; 
equivalents, 347; form of neurotic 
fear, 346; hysteria, 233, 259, 316, 
346; hysteria, resistance in, 250; 
neurosis, 338, 344, 347 

Anxious expectation, 344 

Archaic remnants and infantilism in 
the dream, 167 

Art, and the neurosis, 326 

Association experiment, 86; free, 84 

Auto-eroticism, 359 

Back, George, 108 

Basedowi, M., 336 

Beheading symbol, 231 

Bernheim, 81, 240, 385, 888 

Binet, 302 

Binz, 66 

Birth of the hero, myths, 132 

Birth, the source of fear, 343; sym- 
bols of, 132; theories of children, 

Bleuler, 86, 369 

Bloch, Ivan, 265 

Bolsche, W., 307 

Breuer, J., 221, 232, 241, 242, 253, 
254, 388 

Breughel, P., 263 

Castration complex, 175 
Censor, dream, 110 

Charcot, 119 

Child, sexual life of, 268, 281 

Childhood amnesia, 168; dreams of, 
101; egoism in, 171; experiences, 
phantasy in, 319; loss of memory 
for, 168; prophylaxis, 317 

Children, fear in, 350; sexual curios- 
ity of, 274 

Children's dreams, 102; theories of 
birth, 274 

Choice of an object, 368 

Clinical problem, 244 

Common elements of dreams, 67, 69, 

Complex, castration, 175; family, 
285; Oedipus, 174, 285; parent, 

Compulsion neurosis, 222, 227, 259, 
261, 267, 298, 326; fear in, 349; 
manifestations of, 222 

Compulsion neurotics, resistance in, 
250, 251; symptoms, analysis of, 

Compulsive activity, meaning of, 
239; acts, 223; washing as, 233 

Condensation, 142 

Conflict, role of, in neurosis, 302, 

Conscious, definition of, 90 

Conversion-hysteria, 259, 339 

Criticism of dream, 194; of psycho- 
analysis, reasons for, 246 

Darwin, Charles, 247, 345 

Day dreams, 76, 105, 324 

Death in dreams, 133; wishes, 169 

Definition of psychoanalysis, 1 

Delusion, 216 

Dementia prsecox, 339, 358, 363 

Development and regression, theo- 
ries of, 294 

Diderot, 292 

Difficulties of psychoanalysis, 2, 5 

Disease, secondary advantage of, 

Disguise-memories, 168 

Displacement, 114, 144 

Dream, the, 63; of Alexander, 65; 
anxiety, 183; aproaches to study 
of, 82; archaic remnants and in- 
fantilism in the, 167; censor, 110; 
character of, 69; criticism of, 




194; day, 76, 105; definition of, 67, 
68; difficulties and preliminary ap- 
proach to, 63; distortion in, 101, 
110, 183; doubtful points concern- 
ing, 194; for experimental analy- 
sis, 93; hypothesis and technique 
of interpretation of, 78; infantile, 
183; interpretation, rules to be 
observed in, 91, 92; manifest and 
latent content of, 90, 96; of a 
prisoner, 109; the reaction to 
sleep-disturbing stimuli, 70; stim- 
uli in, 71, 73; symbolism in, 122 

Dreams analysed, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 
153; of childhood, 101; children's, 
102; children's, elements of, 101-5; 
common elements of, 67, 69, 75; 
death in, 133; elaboration in, 74; 
examples of, 111; experimentally 
induced in, 71 ; of neurotics, 395 ; 
typical, 234; visual forms in, 75; 
wish fulfillment, 107; dream-work, 
141 ; processes of, 142 

Du prel, 108 

Ego, development of, 304; impulses, 
303; instincts, 356; psychology, 
365; regressions, 310 

Egoism, 360; in childhood, 171 

Elements of children's dreams, 101, 
102, 103, 104, 105 

Erogenous zones, 271 

Erotomania, 366 

Errors, accumulated and combined, 
37; forgetting names, 34; forget- 
ting projects, 34; losing and mis- 
laying objects, 36; misreading, 51; 
proved by further developments, 
39; psychology of, 10, 23; re- 
peated, 37; slips of the pen, 49; 
of the tongue, 16, 18; expectant 
fear, 344 

Fact, principle of, 309 

Family-complex, 289 

Fear, 340, 342; in children, 350; in 
compulsion neurosis, 349; expect- 
ant, 344; in hysteria, 348; of the 
manifold, 344; neurotic, 341; anx- 
iety, form of, 346; clinical obser- 
vations on, 347; origin of, 350; and 
real fear, connection between, 350; 
real, 341; and neurotic fear, con- 
nection between, 350 

Fechner, G. T., 69 

Federn, P., 127 

Ferenczi, 304 

Fetichism, 302 

Fetichists, 264 

Fixation of the instinct, 295; trau- 
matic, 236 

Flaubert, G., 263 

Fliess, W., 277 

Fontaine, Th., 324 

Fore-conscious, 256 

Forgetting, defense against unpleas- 
ant recollections, 56; impressions 
and experiences, 56; names, 34, 
55 ; plans, 52 ; projects, 34 ; proper 
names, 87 

Free association, 84; name analysis 
by, 85 

Free-floating fear, 344 

Fright, 342 

Hall, Stanley, 344, 355 

Hildebrand, 71 

Hoffman, 321 

Homosexualists, 266 

Homosexuality, 263 

Hypnosis, 253, 386; psycho-therapy 

by, 253 

Hypnotic and psychoanalytic sug- 
gestion, difference between, 390 
Hypnotism, 81, 388 
Hypochondria, 338, 339, 362 
Hysteria, 233, 245, 246, 261, 266, 297; 

anxiety, 233, 316; conversion, 339; 

fear in, 348 
Hysterical amnesias, 245; backache, 

339; headache, 339; identification, 

369; vomiting, 233 
Illness as a defense, 332 
Imago, 139 
Incest, 176, 290 
Infantile amnesias, 245; dream, 183; 

fear, 353; neurosis, 316; sexuality, 

272, 279 
Infantilism in the dream, archaic 

remnants and, 167 
Inferiority, 351 
Inhibition, 294 
Instinct, fixation of, 295 
Intellectual resistances, 251 
Introversion, 326 
Inversions, 149, 263 

James-Lange theory of emotion, 


Janet, P., 221 
Jealousy, obsession of, 216 
Jenner, 400 
Jung, C. J., 86, 232, 325, 357 

Koch, 400 
Krauss, F. S., 134 

Latent dream content, 90, 96 
Leuret, 221 



Levy, L., 133 

Libido, 116, 270; development of, 
277, 282; fixation, 300; regressions 
of, 297; theory, the, 356 

Lichtenberg, 27 

Lindner, 271 

Losing and mislaying objects, 36, 

Loss of memory for childhood, 168 

Maeder, A., 39, 202 

Mania of persecution, 366; of jeal- 
ousy, 366 

Manifest dream content, 90, 96 

Masochists, 264 

Maury, 66, 71 

Mayer, 16 

Mechanism of the tongue slip, 46 

Megalomania, 366 

Melancholia, 369 

Memory gaps, 244; loss of, for child- 
hood, 168 

Meringer, 16 

Misreading, 51 

Mistakes, general observations on, 

Myths, birth of the hero, 132 

Name analysis by free association, 

Naecke, P., 359 

Narcism, 359, 360 

Narcistic identification, 369; neu- 
roses, 298, 365; and transference, 

Negative transference, 383 

Nervousness, fear and, 340; ordin- 
ary, 328 

Nestroy, 305 

Neurasthenia, 338, 339 

Neurosis, anxiety, 344; art and, 
326; common experiences in his- 
tory of, 321; compulsion, 222; de- 
termining factor in, 321; develop- 
ment of symptoms of, 311; etiol- 
ogy of, 296; general theory of, 
294; infantile, 316; narcistic, 298; 
schematic representation of cause 
of, 315; spontaneous, 237; symp- 
toms of, 317; traumatic, 237; true, 
difference between the symptoms 
of, and the psychoneurosis, 336 

Neurotic fear, anxiety form of, 346; 
clinical observations on, 347; 
manifestations of, 344; origin of, 
350; and real fear, connection be- 
tween, 350 

Neurotic manifestations, psychoan- 
alytic conception of, 211; symp- 
toms, evolution of, 244; meaning 

of, 221; objections to interpreta- 
tions of, 260 

Neurotics, dreams of, 395 

Nordenskjold, Otto, 107 

Oberlander, 334 
Object, choice of, 368 
Obsession of jealousy, 216 
Oedipus complex, 174, 285 
Onanism, 272, 274 
Organic pleasure, 280 

Paranoia, 266, 339, 366 

Paraphrenia, 339, 366 

Parent-complex, 289 

Pathological ritual, 228 

Patricide, 290 

Perverse, 263; sexuality, 268, 2T9 

Perversions, sex, 175, 278 

Pfister, 199 

Phantasies, primal, 323 

Phantasy in childhood experiences, 
319; in children, 322 

Phobias, 344; analysis of, 353; situa- 
tion, in children, 352 

Pleasure, principle of, 309 

Pleasure-striving, 116 

Pre-genital sexual organization, 283 

Primal phantasies, 323 

Principle of fact, 309; of pleasure, 

Psychiatry, psychoanalysis and, 209 ; 
therapeutics of, 220 

Psychic flight from unpleasantness, 
55; process, meaning of, 23; defi- 
nition of, 7; in sleeping and wak- 
ing, differences between, 69 

Psychoanalysis, definition of, 1; dif- 
ficulties of, 2, 5; and psychiatry, 
209; purpose of, 6; reasons for 
criticism of, 246; therapeutics of, 

Psychoanalytic conception of neuro- 
tic manifestations, 211; sugges- 
tion, hypnotic and difference be- 
tween, 390 

Psychology of errors, 10 

Psychoneurosis, difference between 
the symptoms of the true neurosis 
and, 336; true neurosis and, con- 
nection between symptoms of, 338 

Psychotherapy by hypnosis, 253 

Purpose of psychoanalysis, 6 

Rank, O., 21, 108, 132, 139, 154, 17.1, 


Reaction-formations, 326 
Regression, 295, 296; of Libido, 297; 

theories of development and, 294 
Reik, Th, 290 



Repression, 255 

Reproduction, 269; sexuality and, 

Resistance, 92, 248; in anxiety hy- 
steria, 250; in compulsion neuro- 
tics, 250, 251; external, 398; forms 
taken by, 250; internal, 398; in- 
tellectual, 251; in narcistic neu- 
rosis, 365 

Ritual, pathological, 228; sleep, 227 

Roux, 314 

Sachs, Hanns, 139, 173 

Sadistico-anal sexual organization, 

Sadists, 264 

Schemer, K. A., 124 

Schirmer, 74 

Schwind, 109 

Secondary treatment, 151 

Sex symbols, 126 

Sex, the third, 263 

Sexual curiosity of children, 274; 
denninition of concept, 262; de- 
development, 284; instincts, 356; 
life of the child, 268, 281; life of 
man, 262; organizations, 277, 283; 
perversions, 175, 278 

Sexuality, perverse, 268; and repro- 
duction, 277 

Siebault, 81 

Silberer, V., 203 

Situation-phobia, 345; phobias in 
children, 352 

Sleep, definition of, 67; ritual, 227 

Slips of the tongue, 16; effects of, 
18; explanation of, 25, 46; general 
observations on, 48; of the pen, 49 

Sperber, H., 138 

Spontaneous neuroses, 237 

Stekel, W., 203 

Struuelpeter, 321 

Sublimation, 8, 300 

Substitute names, 87 

Suggestibility, 386 

Suggestion, 386, 388 

Suppression, 46, 248, 256, 259, 296, 

Symbol, 123; beheading, 231 

Symbolism in the dream, 122; in 
every day life, 130 

Symbols, 125, 126; of birth, 132; 
sex, 126 

Symptomatic acts, accidental and, 42 

Symptom-development, 259 ; inter- 
pretation, 259; purpose of, 258, 

Symptoms, individual, 232, 234; 
meaning of, 221; of neurosis, 
development of, 311; neurotic, 
evolution of, 244; objections to 
interpretations of, 260; signifi- 
cance of phantasy for the de- 
velopment of, 324 ;" typical, 233 

System of the unconscious, fore- 
conscious and the conscious, 255- 

Technique in dream interpretation, 

Therapy, analytical, 372 

Therapeutics of psychiatry, 220; of 
psychoanalysis, 220 

Third sex, 263 

Tongue slip, mechanism of, 46, 49 

Topophobia, 233 

Transference, 25, 372, 379; narcistic 
neuroses and, 386; neuroses, 259, 
339, 384 

Translation of thoughts into visual 
images, 145 

Traumatic fixation, 236; neuroses, 

Trenck, 108 

True neuroses, 338; and psycho- 
neuroses, connection between 
symptoms of, 338; symptoms of, 

Typical symptoms, 234 

Unconscious, the, 236, 255; defini- 
tion of, 90; psychological proc- 
esses, 240 

Void, J. Hourly, 66, 127 
Vomiting, hysterical, 233 
von Briicke, 295 

Wallace, 247 

Washing, a compulsive act, 233 
Wishes, death, 169 
Wishfulfillment, 180; in dreams, 104, 

107; negative, 261; positive, 261 
Wundt school, 86 

Zola, Emile, 224 
Zurich school, 36 

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